Emirates vs Etihad vs Qatar Airways: which one is the best?

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

Today (April 19, 2019): Travel tip: Emirates vs Etihad vs Qatar Airways: which one is the best?

The last decade has seen the rise of the three Middle Eastern carriers: Emirates (with its hub in Dubai, UAE), Etihad Airways (with its hub in Abu Dhabi, UAE) and Qatar Airways (with its hub in Doha, Qatar). Not only did these airlines reshape the competitive landscape at 30.000 feet, they also raised the bar for their competitors with unmatched service in the skies and on the ground. All three carriers are regulars in my many of top 10 aviation and travel lists:

  • Top 10 best airlines for longhaul Business Class
  • Top 10 best airlines for longaul First Class
  • Top 10 best Business Class amenities kits
  • Top 10 best First Class amenity kits
  • Top 10 best airlines for inflight food
  • Top 10 best Business Class airport lounges
  • Top 10 best First Class airport lounges

Indeed, flying onboard one of the three Middle Eastern carriers is quite an experience. Over the past years, I published several trip reports about my flights with Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways, in Business and First Class. You can read them here, or watch clips on my popular Youtube channel:

  • Etihad Airways flight reviews:
    • Review: Etihad Airways A380 First Class from London to Abu Dhabi
    • Review: Etihad Airways A330 Business Class from Brussels to the Maldives
    • Review: Etihad Arways B777 Business Class from Abu Dhabi to Bangkok
  • Emirates flight reviews:
    • Review: Emirates B777 (new) First Class from Dubai to Brussels
    • Review: Emirates B777 (new) Business Class from Brussels to Dubai
    • Review: Emirates A380 First Class from Dubai to Amsterdam
    • Review: Emirates Airbus A380 Business Class Dubai to Sydney
    • Review: Emirates A380 Business Class from Brisbane to Dubai
    • Review: Emirates A380 Business Class from Düsseldorf to Dubai
  • Qatar Airways flight reviews
    • Review: Qatar Airways A350 Qsuite from Frankfurt to Doha
    • Review: Qatar Airways Dreamliner B787 Business Class Brussels to Doha
    • Review: Qatar Airways A330-300 Doha to Maldives
    • Review: Qatar Airways B777-300ER Business Class Doha to Bangkok
    • Review: Qatar Airways A380 First Class Doha to Paris

When choosing one of the three Middle Eastern carriers, the big question is which one offers the best flight experience? Well, here you have some facts & my opinion about their Business Class products (read here my opinion and comparison of their First Class products). You can share your opinion below in the comments section or take my poll.

  • Chauffeur service: Emirates offers complimentary chauffeur-driven airport transfers for its Business Class passengers across the globe, while Etihad Airways only offers chauffeur transfers to/from Abu Dhabi airport. Qatar Airways does not offer complimentary airport transfers (even not in First Class). A huge plus for Emirates!
  • Lounges: All three carriers offer an expansive lounge network, both at their hubs and at their international destinations.
    • Qatar Airways’ Al Mourjan lounge at Doha’s Hamad International Airport is the world’s best and visually most stunning Business Class lounge that I’ve ever encountered during all my travels. It simply outclasses all the current competition out there. If you transit via the Middle East, then Qatar will offer you the best lounge experience. Unfortunately, Qatar doesn’t have a lot of lounges outside of Doha (and mostly makes use of other airline’s lounges at these destinations).
    • Emirates features a massive lounge with excellent facilities at Dubai, although the space is not as refined and architecturally overwhelming as Qatar’s Al Mourjan lounge. Emirates also operates its own lounges at many international destinations, offering a consistent product for its passengers.
    • Etihad’s lounge at Abu Dhabi International Airport is a lovely, modern space with a pleasing design, but the lounge can feel crowded at peak hours and over the past years, the airline has dropped several facilities at the lounge (e. g. spa, barber) because of financial challenges.
  • Fleet-wide consistency of the Business class product: Unfortunately, the layout of the Business Class cabin and the seat type you’ll get depend on the aircraft type since none of the three major Middle East airlines offers a consistent Business Class product across their wide-body fleet. That said, Etihad is the only carrier that offers fully flatbed seats across its wide-body fleet (more on that below), while Emirates and Qatar still have planes flying around with (uncomfortable) angled flatbed seats, so I would say that Etihad is the winner here.
  • Cabin interior & design:
    • Etihad’s A380s & Dreamliner B787s feature an extremely elegant and refined decor in their Business Class cabins (which Etihad calls ‘Studios’). The stylish cabins feature a neutral color palette of different beige tones mixed with some gold and copper, creating a soothing ambience. Although the carrier’s B777 and A330’s Business Class cabin interiors once had an exclusive feel, they now feel a little dated and could use a refurbishment.
    • LED mood-lighting baths the Business Class cabins in Qatar Airways’ A350, A380 and B777 aircraft in the carrier’s signature burgundy light, a soothing color palette which is enhanced with elegant and warm rose gold detailing and and even with some marble-finish whites. However, if you don’t like pink, then you may not like Qatar’s cabin design.
    • Emirates features rather bombastic interiors in both its B777 and A380 planes, with lots of walnut veneer, gold trim and pearlised plastic, which is not enterily to my liking.
  • Cabin layout & seats: you need to take the aircraft type into account when booking a flight on one of the three Middle Eastern carriers, since that will largely determine your Business Class experience. The best wide-body Business Class layout & seats are (in order from excellent to mediocre):
    1. Qatar B777 & A350 with Qsuites: this is the world’s best Business Class seat, with private doors and the possibility to convert some seats into a suite with double bed (for couples) or even a quad suite (for colleagues or friends).
    2. Etihad B787 & A380: configured 1-2-1 in a forward and aft ‘dovetail’, the Business Studios all have aisle access and the seats convert into fully flat beds.
    3. Qatar B787, A380 & A350 (without Qsuites): spacious seats in a 1-2-1 reverse herringbone layout offer direct aisle access for all passengers.
    4. Emirates A380, Etihad A330, & Etihad B777: the staggered 1-2-1 layout of the seats onboard these aircraft guarantees direct aisle acces to all passengers, but the seats are not as wide and long as compared to the seats described above, which can be problematic for tall passengers or passengers of size.
    5. Qatar B777 without Qsuites: a 2-1-2 configuration means that passengers seated in a window seat have no direct aisle acces. This seat layout wil gradually disappear as Qatar is refurbishing these planes with the new Qsuite.
    6. Emirates B777: the seats onboard these aircraft 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. To make things worse, most B777s are still flying around with angled flatbed seats (although the newly delivered B777 and some refurbished ones come with fully flatbed seats).
    7. Qatar A330: Qatar offers several types of Business Class products on its A330 fleet, with some aircraft featuring the old seats (that don’t fully recline) and some other featuring the updated product (with fully flat-bed seats). Regardless of the seat type, the seats are always arranged in a suboptimal 2-2-2 layout.
  • Flat beds: Etihad Airways is the only carrier to offer flat beds (with 180 degree recline) across its wide body fleet. Contrary to their A380s, Emirates’ B777s have angled lie flat-beds, although Emirates’ new B777 planes are delivered with full lie-flat seats. Qatar Airways is currently replacing the (very uncomfortable) angled flatbed seats on its Airbus A330 fleet by true lie-flat seats (after which the whole Qatar fleet will offer flat beds).
  • Amenity kit: Emirates has by the far the best amenity kit of the three airlines, with Etihad offering the least impressive Business Class amenity kit. Unfortunately, Emirates only offers them on longhaul flights, while Etihad and Qatar Airways offer amenity kits on both medium- and longhaul flights.
    • Emirates amenity kit is presented as a large toiletry bag and contains the usual necessities – albeit in luxe edition – such as toothbrush and toothpaste through to handkerchiefs and deodorant. The men’s amenity kit also provides Gilette shaving foam and a razor, as well as moisturizers and aftershaves by Bvlgari. The women’s one is different,offering a range of feminine toiletries.
    • Qatar’s softshell amenity kits are created by stylish Italian luggage brand BRIC’S. The kit provides standard items for longhaul travel, such as socks, eyeshades and ear plugs. It also contains lip balm, hydrating facial mist, and moisturizer from Castello Monte Vibiano Vecchio, skincare products which are 100% natural and characterized by actives coming from olive extracts.
    • Etihad’s Business Class unisex wallet bag is developed in partnership with Italian fragrance brand Acqua di Parma and can be buttoned to create a stylish and useful valet tray. It contains a Colonia sampler and hand cream in addition to as essentials like socks, eyeshades, earplugs and dental kit.
  • Pyjamas: Qatar Airways offers pyjamas on overnight medium- and long-haul flights, while Etihad and Emirates only offer them in First Class.
  • Duvets: Qatar Airways and Emirates offer duvets on medium-haul flights (to increase sleeping comfort), while Etihad only offers them on longhaul flights.
  • Food: meals are decent on all three carriers, but my best gastronomic experiences have always been on Qatar Airways, followed by Etihad, and then Emirates. In fact, Qatar Airways’ food offering in Business Class is as good as what you get in First Class or in a top-notch restaurant on the ground (wih an amuse-bouche, soup and luxury chocolates accompanying every thre course dinner). The Doha-based carrier even offers dine-on-demand service in its Business Class cabins: you can dine at any time of your choosing and order whatever you want from the menu. 
  • Number of meal services: on longhaul flights, all three carriers offer two meal services (one after takeoff and one 90 minutes prior to landing). On medium-haul flights though (e.g. Europe to/from Middle East), Etihad and Emirates only offer one meal; Qatar Airways used to offer a second light meal before landing but has now skipped that in favor of a snack menu in case you get hungry again, so Qatar wins (again).
  • Inflight entertainment: IMHO, Emirates offers the best inflight entertainment product, with large screens and an extensive range of films, television shows, and audio options (although Etihad and Qatar offer plenty of choices as well, and most passengers won’t notice any difference).
  • WiFi: onboard WiFi is offered by all 3 Middle Eastern carriers, but with a different price tag: Emirates offers the cheapest WiFi, while Qatar’s WiFi is just way too expensive, with Etihad somewhere in between.
  • Onboard bar: an onboard bar, exclusively accessible for passengers flying the premium cabins, is only present on the Airbus A380 aircrafts. But your chances of flying an Airbus A380, and thus socializing with other passengers in a fantastic onboard bar, are highest with Emirates, which has more than 100 of these megaplanes in its fleet (Qatar Airways and Etihad both own 10 A380s).


CONCLUSION

IMHO, Qatar Airways offers (by far) the best Business Class product onboard its A350 and B777 planes equipped with the Qsuites. Qatar also offers a great Business Class product onboard its Boeing 787s, Airbus A350s, and Airbus A380s, although it’s slightly inferior to Etihad’s Boeing 787s and Airbus A380s Business Class product. Emirates’ A380s also offer a great Business Class experience (I personally prefer Qatar and Etihad), although the carrier’s B777 feature a subpar product with a 2-3-2 seat configuration.

What’s your favorite Middle Eastern carrier? Leave a comment below or take my poll below.


Take Our Poll


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The post Emirates vs Etihad vs Qatar Airways: which one is the best? appeared first on the Luxury Travel Expert.

Review: Qatar Airways A330 Business Class from Doha to the Seychelles

Wednesday newsletters always feature a hotel and/or flight review.

I recently enjoyed a sublime holiday in one of my favorite destinations in the world, the Seychelles, an astonishingly beautiful island archipelago in the Indian Ocean. You can read my trip reports here:

  • Review: Qatar Airways A350 QSuites from Frankfurt to Doha (world’s best Business Class)
  • Review: Qatar Airways A330 Business Class from Doha to the Seychelles (today)
  • Review: Four Seasons Resort Seychelles (Mahe island)
  • Review: Raffles Seychelles Resort (Praslin island)
  • Review: Anse Source D’Argent, word’s most beautiful beach (La Digue Island)
  • Review: Banyan Tree Resort Seychelles (Mahe island)
  • Review: Maia Luxury Resort & Spa (Mahe island)
  • Review: Constance Ephelia Resort (Mahe island)
  • Review: British Airways B787 Dreamliner Business Class Seychelles to London

Today (April 18, 2019): Trip report: Qatar Airways Airbus A330 Business Class from Doha to the Seychelles.

A few weeks ago, I flew Business Class in an Airbus A330 of Qatar Airways (QA) from Hamad International Airport (DOH) in Qatar to Seychelles International Airport (SEZ) on Mahe Island, the Seychelles’ main island. QA offers several types of Business Class products on its A330 fleet, with some aircraft featuring the old seats (that don’t fully recline) and some other featuring the updated product (with fully flat-bed seats). Fortunately, this particular flight was flown by an A330-200 aircraft featuring the new product. However, although still comfortable, QA’s A330 Business Class product in a 2-2-2 layout is inferior to the 1-2-1 seat arrangement that the carrier installed on its other widebody aircraft (e.g. A350, B787, and A380). That said, I was impressed that QA still offered an amenity kit and full meal service (late dinner + light breakfast) on this rather short flight. Normally, the flight time from Doha to the Seychelles is around 4 hours, but the flight took one hour longer due to the huge detour we had to make around the United Arab Emirates, which has closed its airspace to Qatari aircraft following a diplomatic crisis in 2017.

QA features in my top 10 lists of the best airlines for longhaul Business Class, the most delicious airline food, the world’s best airline Business Class lounges, the best inflight videos of all time, and the best Business Class amenity kits.

  • Trip: DOH-SEZ
  • Airline: Qatar Airways (QA)
  • Aircraft type: Airbus A330-200
  • Aircraft registration number: A7-ACM (delivered in 2007)
  • Flight Number: QR678
  • On time departure: yes (2 am)
  • On time arrival: yes (9 am)
  • Miles: 2080
  • Flight time: 5 hours
  • Seat: 3K
  • Class: Business Class (D)

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

  1. Cost of my ticket
  2. Al Mourjan Business Class lounge at Hamad International Airport
  3. Business Class cabin
  4. Business Class seat (+ best & worst seats)
  5. Amenities
  6. Meals
  7. Entertainment
  8. Onboard internet
  9. Other inflight experiences (crew, bar, lavatory & views)
  10. My verdict (score)

Click to view slideshow.

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1. COST OF MY TICKET

I booked this one-way Business Class ticket from Doha to the Seychelles for 37,500 Avios + € 92,18 EUR taxes, fees and carrier charges. Avios is the mileage currency of Executive Club, the frequent flyer program of British Airways, which is a One World partner of QA.


2. AL MOURJAN BUSINESS CLASS LOUNGE AT HAMAD INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

QA’s Al Mourjan Business Lounge, located on level 3 at Hamad International Airport, is currently the best Business Class lounge in the world. It simply outclasses all the competition out there and redefines the world standard in airport lounge experiences.

From the moment you enter the physically stunning, rectangular shaped lounge with its incredibly high ceilings, you are treated to a refreshing zen-like ambience. The massive space – about 10 times the size of an Olympic-size swimming pool – features a minimalist design and is adorned with exclusive marbles, designer furniture, and bronze walls with traditional Arab calligraphy. In many ways, the lounge feels more like a futuristic museum of modern art than an airport environment. The central part of the lounge is an elevated platform, which features several very comfortable lounge chairs, two self-service bars, and a small indoor garden. There are dozens of other seating areas located around this central platform, with each seat having its own power outlet and touchscreen monitor with airport information. One side of the lounge features an esthetically stunning, black-tiled water pond and large floor-to-ceiling windows with great views of the airport apron. The lounge has several side rooms, such as a prayer room, shower rooms, a game room (with a Formula 1 simulator) and a quiet room with several cubicles for taking a nap.

The lounge has two dining areas. The main restaurant is located up a spiral staircase besides the water pond, boasting a chic marble bar and nice views of the lounge’s mezzanine floor. This restaurant used to offer an a la carte menu, but now its offerings are ‘limited’ to two very extensive buffet spreads. You find a great variety of cold appetizers (e.g. beef pasta, tabbouleh, moutabel, halloumi with orange and mint salad, roast chicken potato and tomato salad), soups, and several hot dishes (e.g. curries and pastas). At the other end of the central lounge space is another eatery, which is more of a deli and offers sandwiches in addition to some small bites and a dessert buffet.

HAMAD INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
HAMAD INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
HAMAD INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
HAMAD INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
HAMAD INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
HAMAD INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
AL MOURJAN LOUNGE: ENTRANCE
AL MOURJAN LOUNGE: ENTRANCE
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AL MOURJAN LOUNGE: RESTAURANT
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AL MOURJAN LOUNGE: RESTAURANT
AL MOURJAN LOUNGE: RESTAURANT

3. BUSINESS CLASS CABIN

QA operates several versions of the Airbus A330s. This flight was operated by a two cabin A330-200, seating 24 passengers in Business Class and 236 in Economy Class. This particular A330 plane was also equipped with the refurbished Business Class cabin (QA still has several A330 flying around that feature the old Business Class product with seats that recline to a maximum of 165 degree).

The Business Class cabin on QA’s refurbished A330s feels elegant and times, with dark grey seat covers, wood trimmed decor touches, and QA’s brand pink color displayed on the entertainment screens. Nevertheless, its design and layout is inferior to the Business Class product offered on QA’s A350s, A380s and B787s. The Business Class cabin features 4 rows of 6 fully flat-bed seats arranged in a traditional 2-2-2 configuration (in comparison: QA’s A330-300 aircraft feature 5 rows of seats). All seats face forward and have aisle access, except for the window seats (where you have to climb over the legs of your neighbor to get to the aisle). Two paired seats don’t completely line up and are staggered by a few inches (cm), so you sit either a little more to the front or back as compared to your neighbor. This is not much of a deal when you travel with a companion, but it does create an extra level of privacy when you are seated next to a stranger (there’s also a large, sliding screen divider between paired seats).

This Business Class layout isn’t unique to QA as other airlines have installed the same type of Business Class seat (e.g. Ethiopian Airlines B787/A350s; KLM’s A330s; and United B787s).

For a seat map of this version of QA’s A330-200, click here.

QATAR AIRWAYS AIRBUS A330-200 AT HAMAD INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
QATAR AIRWAYS AIRBUS A330-200 AT HAMAD INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
QATAR AIRWAYS AIRBUS A330-200 AT HAMAD INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
QATAR AIRWAYS AIRBUS A330-200 AT HAMAD INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
QATAR AIRWAYS AIRBUS A330-200 AT HAMAD INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
QATAR AIRWAYS AIRBUS A330-200 AT HAMAD INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS CABIN
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS CABIN
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS CABIN (AFTER SUNRISE)
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS CABIN (AFTER SUNRISE)

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

I had pre-selected seat 3K for the medium-haul flight of five hours to the Seychelles.

The QA A330 Business Class seat has a pitch of 60 inches (152 cm) and a width of 21 inches (53 cm). One side of the seat features a reading light at eye level and an a panel for the seat controls in the arm rest. This side of the seats also has a large shared console, which has a table surface on top and holds the moderately sized tray table; the latter needs to be pulled out for any use (after which you are kind of blocked in your seat). On the other side of the seat, behind the headrest, is a small, somewhat difficult to reach fixture, which holds a universal AC power outlet, a USB port and a wired controller for the inflight entertainment (more on that below). There’s also a small compartment behind the headrest, where you can store items like your wallet, glasses or smart phone; actually, it’s the only storage space around the seat (you need to store all your carry-on luggage and larger items in the overhead bins). 

In front of each seat is a large touchscreen high resolution TV in 16:9 format and a small footrest. The seat goes fully flat, but while the seat itself is wide the footrest is very narrow, so it’s not very comfortable for a good night’s rest (and please keep in mind that QA also operates other A330 planes with reclining but not fully flat-bed seats).

What are the best Business Class seats on QA’s A330-200? Click here for a seat map.

  • All seats in the cabin, except for the first and last row, are quiet good, especially for couples. Make sure to prebook your seat online (which can be done free of charge) to avoid disappointment since QA’s flights are often fully packed.

What are the worst Business Class seats on QA’s A330-200? Click here for a seat map.

  • The 2-2-2 Business Class layout does not make the cabin very attractive for solo travelers, since you will always end up sitting next to a stranger. There is a movable screen though between adjoining seats for added privacy.
  • Window seats don’t offer direct aisle access.
  • Passengers seated in the first row may be bothered by the noise of the galley and passengers going to or returning from the lavatories.
  • I also suggest to avoid the last row of Business Class, which is close to the Economy bassinet seats.
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
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QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT (FLATBED POSITION)
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT (FLATBED POSITION)
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT (FLATBED POSITION)
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT (FLATBED POSITION)
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT (AFTER SUNRISE)
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT (AFTER SUNRISE)

5. AMENITIES

Business Class passengers on QA’s medium-haul routes (such as Doha to the Seychelles) receive the following amenities:

  • A light blanket
  • A plush pillow
  • An amenity kit developed by Indian artisan brand, Nappa Dori, which has gained global recognition for its luxury handcrafted travel and fashion accessories. The kits’ canvas exteriors feature a series of destination images, including Thailand, the Netherlands, China and Doha. The kit itself contains earplugs, eyeshades, socks, and mints but no skincare products (the latter are only provided on longhaul routes). Toiletries – such as shaving kits, toothbrushes, tooth paste, hand lotion and perfume – are available though in the lavatories.
  • Noise-cancelling headphones (since they can only be powered within an aircraft, it does not make sense to take them with you).

Unfortunately, the one thing that was missing for optimal sleep comfort on this flight was a sleeping mattress (which QA does provide on some medium-haul routes, but not on this particular route). Although the seat featured great padding in the seating position, it felt a little too hard in the bed mode; in addition, it’s not very hygienic that you have to sleep on the same cover where many other have slept on before you.

QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS: AMENITY KIT
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS: AMENITY KIT
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS: AMENITY KIT
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS: AMENITY KIT
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS: BLANKET
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS: BLANKET
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS: NOISE-CANCELLING HEADPHONES
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS: NOISE-CANCELLING HEADPHONES

6. MEALS

Upon boarding, I was offered a choice of hot or cold towel, and a glass of Champagne, orange juice, water, or QA’s signature drank, lemon mint. I choose some water given the late hour of departure (2 am).

Despite this being a relatively short flight (5 hours), full meal service was offered. In addition, QA offers dining-on-demand, so you can order whatever you want from the menu at any time you like.

I choose the following selection from the late night dining menu:

  • Soup of the day: pea soup with mint and balsamic vinegar
  • Main course: Malabar prawn massala with green peas pulao and vegetable salad
  • Dessert: banoffee pudding with crème anglaise

The food tasted great but the portions of the main dish were rather small. I also ordered a platter of seasonal cut fruits prior to landing.

QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS: WELCOME DRINK
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS: WELCOME DRINK
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS: MENU
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS: MENU
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS: MENU
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS: MENU
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS: MENU
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS: MENU
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS: MENU
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS: MENU
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS: MENU
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS: MENU
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS: MENU
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS: MENU
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS: MENU
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS: MENU
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS: MENU
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS: MENU
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS: MENU
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS: MENU
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS: WINE LIST
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS: WINE LIST
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS: WINE LIST
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS: WINE LIST
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS: WINE LIST
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS: WINE LIST
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS: WINE LIST
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS: WINE LIST
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS: WINE LIST
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS: WINE LIST
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS: WINE LIST
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS: WINE LIST
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS: WINE LIST
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS: WINE LIST
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS: APERITIF
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS: APERITIF
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS: DINNER
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS: DINNER
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS: DINNER
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS: DINNER
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS: DINNER
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS: DINNER

7. INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT

Every Business Class seat on QA’s A330 features a large HD entertainment screen, which is touched enabled. You can also select the entertainment with a touch screen Android technology control unit – located in a pocket besides the headrest – which has a unique dual screen interface allowing you to play games or watch the flight map on the handheld device while enjoying a movie on the large screen. The entertainment system itself (called Oryx One) offers almost 1000 movies, TV programs, music and gaming options in a sophisticated and user-friendly way.

QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS: INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS: INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT

8. ONBOARD INTERNET

This particular A330-200 was equipped with WiFi; however, I did not use it. Note that QA offers Wifi on all A380, A350, B787, and select B777, A320, A321, and A330-200 aircraft.


9. OTHER INFLIGHT EXPERIENCES

#CREW: The young QA cabin crew members did a great job and were all very friendly. Something I like (and only experience with Middle East and Asian carriers) is that they present themselves individually before take-off, and also thank you in person for choosing QA before landing. It makes you feel very special and welcome.

# BAR: QA’s A330 planes do not feature a bar.

# TOILET: The A330 Business Class cabin features two lavatories, located immediately behind the cockpit. Both of them have a window and are stocked with Ritual skincare products as well as a toothbrushes, toothpaste and disposable razors.

QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS LAVATORY
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS LAVATORY
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS LAVATORY
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS LAVATORY
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS LAVATORY
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS LAVATORY

# VIEWS: Due to the clear weather, we enjoyed some great aerial views of the Seychellois archipelago during landing.

QATAR AIRWAYS A330: LANDING AT SEYCHELLES INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
QATAR AIRWAYS A330: LANDING AT SEYCHELLES INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
QATAR AIRWAYS A330-200 AT SEYCHELLES INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
QATAR AIRWAYS A330-200 AT SEYCHELLES INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

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

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The post Review: Qatar Airways A330 Business Class from Doha to the Seychelles appeared first on the Luxury Travel Expert.

Top 10 best beach destinations in the world

Monday newsletters always feature top 10 travel lists to inspire.

Today (April 15, 2019): Top 10 best beach destinations in the world.

A beach is always an excellent location for a relaxing holiday, so it’s no wonder that millions of us flock to a beach destination when we have time to travel. With vast stretches of white sand, clear turquoise waters, waving palm trees, and a tranquil ambiance, vacationing at the beach is always as fun as it sounds. Whether you love relaxing on the sand, snorkeling in clear warm waters, or try the athlete in yourself with exciting watersports, a beach always offers an activity to suit everyone. Of course, not all beach destinations are equally good, so to help you plan your next tropical escape, I share with you my 10 preferred hotspots in the world for a relaxing beach holiday.

You can find more info below my slideshow (with a selection of luxury hotels per destination). Think I forgot a beach destination? Leave a comments or take my poll below.

Click to view slideshow.

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10. THAILAND

A veritable paradise of sugar white sand, crystal clear waters, and dramatic scenery, Thailand’s tropical beaches are renowned around the globe for their beauty. Unfortunately, mass tourism has destroyed some of them. Remember The Beach? Well, these days you’ll have to look a little harder to find the utopian paradise of the 1990s cult backpacker novel on Thailand’s Andaman coast. However, little gems still shine brightly on Phi Phi island. And some of the country’s most luxurious resorts – such as the phenomenal resort of Soneva Kiri – still feature their own private, pristine beach.

  • Best time to visit: the weather in Thailand is reasonable most times of year, although it certainly gets hot and rainy during the summer. November through February are the coolest times of year and there is certainly less rain than at other times in the year. However, avoid the rainy season (July to October) at all costs since tropical downpours can be torrential.
  • My selection of luxury resorts: read my top 10 list of the best luxury hotels in Thailand.

 


9. PHILIPPINES

With more than 7000 islands dotted with beautiful white sand beaches that are lapped by warm aquamarine seas and edged by spectacular coral reefs, picking a favorite beach in the Philippines may sound like a challenging task. El Nido in Palawan, often dubbed as the Philippines’ last frontier, is definitely one the best destinations in the country, not only because of the powder-fine beaches and gin-clear waters, but also because of the area’s fabulous limestone formations, towering cliffs, prehistoric caves and thundering waterfalls.

  • Best time to visit: there are two distinct weather patterns in the Philippines. The southwest monsoon, which runs from May to October, brings the rains and the northeast monsoon, which prevails from November to early May, is the dry season. For most of the country, the wet season starts in June, peaks in July to September, and fades out in October. Typhoons are common from June to November with storms raging up the east coast. January to May is the best time to visit.
  • My selection of luxury hotelsAmanpuloShangri La Boracay, and Nay Palad Hideaway

THE PHILIPPINES


8. NORTHWESTERN USA & CANADA

The Northwestern area of the American continent boasts some of the most spectacular wild beaches in the worlds, in particular Second Beach in Olympic National Park (USA) and Long Beach in the Pacific Rim National Park (Canada). Do not expect a tropical idyll though, since these areas rank among the wettest places on earth. Here, you can walk on miles of long sandy beaches backed by lush, old-growth rainforest, while watching the thundering waves of the Pacific Ocean with the occasional whale breaching at the horizon.

  • Best time to visit: it depends on your interests. In the winter you can expect a lot of rain and potentially high winds but many people go just to storm watch. July and August would be the best time in terms of less precipitation, warmer temperatures and sunshine but fog is often a plague in the morning.
  • My selection of luxury resortsLong Beach LodgeWickaninnish Inn, and Clayoquot Wilderness Resort

NORTHWESTERN USA & CANADA

 


7. QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA

Queensland has hundreds of world-class beaches, each offering a distinctive experience. Whitehaven Beach, located on the largest of the Whitsunday Islands, is often voted amongst the world’s most beautiful beaches; stretching over 3,7 miles (6km) and boasting brilliant silica sand, among the purest in the world, you’ll soon realize why. Another favorite is Seventy-five Mile Beach, which is Australia’s premier four-wheel driving location and runs along Fraser Island’s east coast; the fabulous beach boasts miles upon miles of pristine sand and sea, as well as a vast array of wildlife.

  • Best time to visit: April through October (winter time Down Under) is the best time to enjoy abundant sunshine and less rain. It is also peak visibility time for divers. The Australian summer months from November to April are hot, rainy and sticky across Queensland (with the chance of a cyclone in the north).
  • My selection of luxury resorts: read my top 10 list of the best luxury hotels in Australia.


6. CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA

Cape Town, often dubbed South Africa’s Mother City and IMHO the world’s most beautiful city, has some of the world’s most spectacular beaches on its doorsteps, just minutes from the city center at the foot of the epic Table Mountain. From the family friendly beaches on the False Bay coastline to the gorgeous beaches for the rich and beautiful on the incredibly spectacular Atlantic Seaboard, you’re sure to find a stretch of sand that suits your fancy. My favorite Capetonian beaches are Camps Bay, Clifton and Llandudno.

  • Best time to visit: Cape Town’s hot, dry summer months run from late October to late March. Temperatures reach their peak between December and February, and this is generally seen as when to go to Cape Town for the best beach weather.
  • My selection of luxury hotels: read my top 10 list of the best luxury hotels in Cape Town.

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA


5. HAWAII, USA

Besides jaw-dropping natural scenery (think active volcanoes, towering cliffs, and dense jungle), the Hawaiian islands also boast some of the best beaches in the world. Some built around the high drama of intense waves crashing against razor-sharp lava rocks; some so remote that they are only accessible by helicopter or landing watercraft; and some are so hidden and gorgeous that they need to remain a secret. The islands of Kauai and Maui are best for travelers looking for a relaxing beach holiday (but don’t forget to explore the incredible landscapes outside the resorts).

  • Best time to visit: the off-season, when the best rates are available and the islands are less crowded, is spring (Apr to June) and fall (Sept to November) — a paradox because these are the best seasons to be in Hawaii, in terms of reliably great weather.  Winter (December to March) can be surprisingly wet and cloudy.
  • My selection of luxury resorts: read my top 10 list of the best hotels in Hawaii.

HAWAII, USA


4. FRENCH POLYNESIA

With 118 islands dotted in the mighty blue South Pacific Ocean, French Polynesia has, as you probably expect, some pretty awesome beaches. Just 12 miles (19 km long), the lush little slipper of land called Bora Bora lies in French Polynesia’s most mesmerizing lagoon edged by fine white sandy shores. Luxurious over-water bungalows nestled over the world’s most beautiful lagoon with a tropical backdrop make Bora Bora a top destination for the discerning traveler.

  • Best time to visit: the wet season (Polynesian summers) runs from November till April. During these months the humidity levels can be at an all time high and storms are frequent and unpredictable. The dry season from May to October is when tourism is at its peak on the islands; during these months the temperature is a few degrees lower and rain is rare.
  • My selection of luxury resorts: read my top 10 list of the best luxury resorts in French Polynesia.

BORA BORA, FRENCH POLYNESIA


3. TURKS AND CAICOS

The Turks and Caicos Islands have some of the planet’s most ethereal turquoise seas and finest, powdery sand beaches, and are surrounded by the globe’s third-largest coral reef. While their western neighbors of the Bahamas went mass with their lost-on-the-way-to-Las-Vegas resorts, the Turks went class, quietly opening a string of very luxurious resorts in the past decade.

  • Best time to visit: like other islands in the Caribbean, Turks & Caicos’ dry seasons and peak travel period lasts from December to March. However, the best time to visit Turks & Caicos is April and May, a sweet spot featuring lower prices and fewer crowds. The weather is pleasant year-round with average highs that hover in the 80s, but these islands do experience a rainy season, and the threat of hurricanes lingers from June to November.
  • My selection of luxury resortsAmanyara and COMO Parrot Cay

TURKS & CAICOS


2. THE MALDIVES

Located on the equator towards the south of India, and stretching over 500 miles (800 km), the Maldives are the visible coral tips of an oceanic volcanic mountain range whose outer edge at some points plunge to depths of over 2 miles (3 km). The islands are blessed with stunning white beaches, crystal clear blue lagoons, incredible underwater wildlife, and unrivaled luxury resorts.

  • Best time to visit: the best weather is between January and April, which also means high season (and high hotel prices). The monsoon runs from May to October, peaking in June. It is worth paying higher prices and sticking to the dry season as there is nothing to do on a rainy day except drink, work out or scuba dive. Especially November and December, which are often labelled as dry season months, have been very unsettled recent years.
  • My selection of luxury resorts: read my top 10 list of the best luxury resorts in the Maldives.


1. THE SEYCHELLES

Mother Nature was extremely generous when she created the archipelago of the Seychelles, comprised of 115 scenic islands scattered in the Indian Ocean east of Kenia. The beauty of the Seychellois beaches is beyond words and unmatched anywhere else in the world: exquisite ribbons of powdery-soft white sand are lapped by turquoise waters and backed by palm tree covered hills and big rocky boulders.

  • Best time to visit: Seychelles is often sold as a year round destination and it is. However there is more chance of bad weather, that is to say rain, from November to March. The transitional months of October and April are excellent for a visit as the oceans are very calm and the weather balmy. During the dry seasons (May to September), it can be windy (causing seaweed on the south or south-easterly side of the islands) with rough seas.
  • My selection of luxury resorts: read my top 10 list of the best luxury resorts in the Seychelles.


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Tips & tricks for booking Qatar Airways’ amazing Qsuite seat

Monday newsletters always feature top 10 travel lists to inspire.

Today (April 12, 2019): Tips & tricks for booking Qatar Airways’ amazing Qsuite seat.

In 2017, Qatar Airways took its Business Class product to an unprecedented level of luxury and style. The so-called ‘Qsuite’ features not only Business Class suites with sliding doors for total privacy but also double beds, allowing passengers in adjoining seats to create their own private room. Adjustable panels and movable TV monitors on the center four seats also allow colleagues, friends or families traveling together to transform their space into a four person suite, so they can work, dine and socialize together. “First in Business” is how Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker described the Qsuite at its launch in 2017, and after experiencing the product myself, I have to agree (you can read my review here or watch my clip below). To help you plan your own Qsuite journey, I share everything you need to know, from where it flies to how you can book it using miles and much more:


Which aircraft feature the Qsuite?

The following Qatar Airways aircraft are equipped with Qsuites:

  • All Airbus A350-1000 planes
  • Retrofitted Airbus A350-900 planes
  • Retrofitted Boeing B777 planes

Flying the A350-1000 gives you absolute certainty that you will get the Qsuite. It’s a different scenario though on the A350-900 and B777, since not all of these planes have been refurbished yet with Qsuites. If you fly the A350-900 or B777 and you want to know whether you will get the Qsuite, you need to look at the plane’s seat map. Planes equipped with the Qsuite feature a staggered 1-2-1 layout with alternating rows of forward- and rear-facing seats. A350-900 aircraft with the old Business Class product feature a reverse herringbone 1-2-1 layout, while B777s with the old product have a traditional 2-2-2 layout. The following seat maps indicate that your plane will feature Qsuites:

Airbus A350-1000

The A350-1000 has 46 QSuites in two cabins: the larger forward cabin contains the bulk of the Qsuites (38 seats spread over 10 rows), while the rear mini-cabin features only two rows of eight Qsuites (and thus feels more private).

A350-1000 QSUITE SEAT MAP
A350-1000 QSUITE SEAT MAP

Airbus A350-900

The A350-900s equipped with Qsuites have 36 of them in a single cabin of nine rows.

A350-900 QSUITE SEAT MAP
A350-900 QSUITE SEAT MAP

Boeing B777

Both the B777-200LR and B777-300ER have 42 QSuites spread across two cabins. The forward cabin has six rows for a total of 24 Qsuites (spread over six rows) while the rear cabin has five rows with a total of 18 Qsuites.

B777 QSUITE SEAT MAP
B777 QSUITE SEAT MAP

On which routes is the Qsuite offered? 

Qatar Airways deploys its planes equipped with Qsuites on specific routes. However, it has to be noted that Qatar Airways is notorious for swapping planes (and thus the onboard Business Class product) on most of its routes. To give you an example, I had initially booked a Qsuite B777 flight departing from Paris, but a few weeks before departure – without any notice from Qatar Airways – I found out (by checking my reservation online) that the aircraft had swapped to an A380 which doesn’t feature the Qsuite. Since I had booked the flight with miles, I was able to change my reservation for a minimal fee to a Qsuite A350-1000 flight leaving from Frankfurt on the same day. A few weeks after my flight, Qatar Airways ‘downgraded’ the Frankfurt-Doha flight to an A380 with an inferior (but still excellent) Business Class product. I am sure that these aircraft swaps cause a lot of frustration and disappointment among many travelers.

That said, at time of writing, Qsuites are offered on the following flights to/from Doha. You can find an updated list of the Qsuite routes on the Qatar Airways website.

  • Asia Pacific: Bangkok, Bengaluru, Colombo, Canberra, Hong Kong, Maldives, Mumbai, Shanghai, Sydney, Singapore, Beijing, and Tokyo
  • Europe: Amsterdam, Berlin, Frankfurt, London, Paris, Stockholm, Zürich, and Munich
  • Middle East: Kuwait, Muscat, and Beirut
  • Americas: Chicago, Houston, New York, Washington DC, Los Angeles, Dallas, Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires

Which Qsuite seat is the best (or worst)?

The best Qsuite seat depends on your preference (solo vs traveling in company). The Qsuites in both the B777 and A350 are arranged in a staggered 1-2-1 layout, offering each passenger direct aisle access. There are different types of seating configurations, with odd-numbered rows featuring rear-facing seats and even-numbered rows having forward facing ones. This may sound similar to British Airways’ odd Ying/Yang seat plan, but the Qsuites layout is in a different league

  • The window seats – which are the best choice for solo travelers – alternate between forward- and rear-facing seats. The rear-facing Qsuites are closer to the window (since they have their console with control panel on the aisle side); these seats feel more private and make it easier to look out of the window during the flight, and are thus my first pick if flying alone in a Qsuite. The forward-facing Qsuites are closer to the aisle, since their console is located on the window side; these are still excellent suites but may feel more claustrophobic because you are seated right next to the suite wall.
  • The center seats also alternate between forward- and rear-facing seats. The rear-facing seats have their consoles on the aisle side and are thus located close together, while the forward-facing seats have their consoles in the middle and thus farther apart. These center Qsuites are fully private spaces, but they feature movable panels and TV screens, allowing to transform some of these Qsuites in unique multi-person spaces:
    • Rear-facing center seats in the odd-numbered rows are set close together and can be converted into a shared suite with a double bed for couples or friends traveling together.
    • Lowering the sliding panels can transform two pairs of middle Qsuites into a four person suite, perfect for families or groups traveling together.
REAR-FACING WINDOW QSUITE
REAR-FACING WINDOW QSUITE
FORWARD-FACING WINDOW QSUITE
FORWARD-FACING WINDOW QSUITE

How to book the Qsuites with the double bed & quad layout?

To make things complicated (but in the end more suitable for its passengers), Qatar Airways doesn’t’ make all of its Qsuites available to all Business Class passengers: the carrier opens up its Qsuite seats for advance allocation based on the number of people traveling on the same booking:

  • Solo passengers can choose the forward- and rear facing window seats (A/B or J/K in each row).
  • Couples traveling together are preferably allocated rear-facing middle seats which can convert into a double bed (odd-numbered E/F pairs).
  • Duos of friends or colleagues are seated in the forward-facing middle seats alongside one another so they can socialize and interact inflight, but without the possibility of conversion into a double bed (even-numbered D/G pairs).
  • Groups of 3 or 4 passengers traveling together are allocated the ‘Quad’ seats (odd-numbered E/F pairs followed by even-numbered D/G pairs in the row directly behind. For example 1E/F+2D/G; 3E/F+4D/G; 5E/F+6D/G; 7E/F+8D/G, and 9E/F+10D/G.

Seats 1A and 2B – the first two window-aligned solo suites at the front left of the cabin – are excluded from the pre-seat selection process to support airport check-in staff to handle any last-minute requests.

Couples and larger groups on the same booking can also choose the A/B or J/K window seats. If you are a party of two or more traveling together but on two separate bookings (for example one redemption booking and one paid booking), you can call Qatar Airways if you wish to be seated in one of the couple or quad suites and they will override the seating allocation rules as you’ll be unable to do this online.

Interestingly, Qatar Airways also makes the following two recommendations to its booking centers:

  • “When a seat within the Quad must be allocated to a customer who is not a part of family or group, all attempts should be made to allocate forward facing seats within the Quad to (the) customer travelling alone.”
  • “When assigning seats to VIPs, CIPs (Commercially Importantly Passengers) and Platinum members of Qatar Airways’ Privilege Club frequent flyer program, these passengers must be advised when they are allocated rear facing seats, especially when they are allocated seats on the front row as all front row seats are rear facing.”
QSUITE DOUBLE BED
QSUITE DOUBLE BED
QSUITE QUAD LAYOUT
QSUITE QUAD LAYOUT

How to fly the Qsuite for free?

Qatar Airways is a member of the Oneworld airline alliance, which means that you can use your miles (collected with one of the Oneworld carrier’s frequent flyer programs) to book free award seats on Qatar Airways (although you’ll still have to pay some taxes, fees and carrier charges). Some of the best redemption options are to use American Airlines’ AAdvantage miles or British Airways’ Avios points, but any miles parked with the following airlines can get you an award ticket on the Qsuite:

  • American Airlines (read my review of AAdvantage here)
  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific Airways,
  • Finnair
  • Iberia
  • Japan Airlines
  • LATAM Airlines
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Qantas
  • Qatar Airways
  • Royal Jordanian
  • S7 Airlines
  • SriLankan Airlines.

In general, Qatar Airways makes plenty of award seats available to its Oneworld partner, albeit only either far in advance (11 months before departure) or last-minute (a few days before departure). Award availability is generally not so good in the months prior to departure. So my advise I that once you have a particular Qsuite route in mind, to regularly check award availability until – hopefully – an award seat is released. The best online search tool to check for Qsuite award availability is via British Airways’ loyalty program Executive Club, which you can acces here (you need to be a member though of the program to make use of the tool; subscription is free).


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The post Tips & tricks for booking Qatar Airways’ amazing Qsuite seat appeared first on the Luxury Travel Expert.

Review: Qatar Airways A350 Qsuite from Frankfurt to Doha

Wednesday newsletters always feature a hotel and/or flight review.

I recently enjoyed a sublime holiday in the Seychelles, an astonishingly beautiful island archipelago in the Indian Ocean. You can read my trip reports here:

  • Review: Qatar Airways A350 QSuites from Frankfurt to Doha (today)
  • Review: Qatar Airways A330 Business Class from Doha to the Seychelles
  • Review: Four Seasons Resort Seychelles (Mahe island)
  • Review: Raffles Seychelles Resort (Praslin island)
  • Review: Banyan Tree Resort Seychelles (Mahe island)
  • Review: Maia Luxury Resort & Spa (Mahe island)
  • Review: Constance Ephelia Resort (Mahe island)
  • Review: British Airways B787 Dreamliner Business Class Seychelles to London

Today (April 10, 2019): Trip report: Qatar Airways Airbus A350 Qsuite from Frankfurt to Doha.

I recently flew Business Class in a Qatar Airways Airbus A350-1000 aircraft from Frankfurt Airport (Germany) to Doha’s Hamad International Airport (Qatar). The aircraft was fitted with Qatar Airways’ revolutionary new Business Class seat, called the Qsuite, which features sliding doors for total privacy. Adjustable panels and movable TV monitors on the center seats also allow colleagues, friends or families traveling together to transform their space into a shared suite with double bed or even a four person suite for working, dining and socializing together. “First in Business” is how Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker described the Qsuite at its launch in 2017, and after experiencing the product myself, I have to agree. The Qsuite lived up to all of the hype and I was extremely impressed with everything about it, from its genius layout and exceptional privacy to its luxurious design details.

Qatar Airways features in my top 10 lists of the best airlines for longhaul Business Class, the most delicious airline food, the world’s best airport Business Class lounges, and the best Business Class amenity kits.

If you’ve flown Qsuites, how did you like the experience? Leave a comment.

  • Trip: FRA-DOH
  • Airline: Qatar Airways (QA)
  • Aircraft type: Airbus A350-1000
  • Aircraft registration number: A7-ANC (delivered in 2018)
  • Flight Number: QR70
  • On time departure: yes (11 am)
  • On time arrival: yes (6 pm)
  • Miles: 2850
  • Flight time: 6 hours
  • Seat: 5K
  • Class: Business Class (Qsuite)

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

  1. Cost of my ticket
  2. Air Canada Maple Leaf lounge at Frankfurt Airport
  3. Facts about the Airbus A350-1000
  4. Business Class cabin
  5. Business Class Qsuite (+ best & worst suites)
  6. Amenities
  7. Meals
  8. Entertainment
  9. Onboard internet
  10. Other inflight experiences (crew, lavatory & views)
  11. My verdict (score)

Click to view slideshow.

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1. COST OF MY TICKET

I booked this one-way Business Class ticket from Frankfurt to Doha for 42,500 AAdvantage miles + $ 117 USD taxes, fees and carrier charges. AAdvantage is the frequent flyer program of American Airlines, which is a One World partner of Qatar Airways. You can read my review of AAdvantage, with pros & cons, here.


2. AIR CANADA MAPLE LEAF LOUNGE AT FRANKFURT AIRPORT

As Qatar Airways doesn’t have its own lounge at Frankfurt, it gives its Business Class passengers access to Air Canada’s Maple Leaf lounge in Terminal 1 (departures area B). It’s a smart choice because the Air Canada lounge – which opened in 2013 – is a gorgeous space that feels more sophisticated and serene compared to the often over-crowded Lufthansa Business Class lounges nearby (which I reviewed here). The lounge is also open to Air Canada’s premium passengers and Star Alliance Gold members.

Located a level up from the main concourse, the lounge’s stylish entrance is clad in slats of Canadian maple wood and has a large Air Canada B787 Dreamliner model on display. It leads to the main lounge space which is centered around a visually dramatic room. The latter features comfortable seating around a glass sculpture resembling a fireplace, with backlit walls lined by cross-cut slabs of Ontario Eramosa marble. This room is surrounded on all sides by more seating areas that come in different layouts and with different types of designer chairs. Most seating areas are equipped with plenty of universal power ports. Floor-to-ceiling windows on one side of the lounge let in plenty of natural light and also offer a view of the airport apron. Overall, the contemporary and airy decor of the lounge is a celebration of Canadian design, artistry and craftsmanship. There’s even a rotating display of artworks by Canadian artists.

A large part of the lounge is reserved for the buffet and the adjoining dining room. The latter features red chairs and a blue wall decorated by a permanent art installation (Transformations by Toronto design firm Moss & Lam). At the time of my visit (early morning), a full continental breakfast buffet was on display, similar to what you would find in a decent city hotel: it comprised an extensive assortment of breads (e.g. Danish pastries, donuts, croissants, muffins, etc …), cereals, yoghurt, salads, fresh fruits, muesli, cold meats and cheese. Around the corner of the buffet station is a self-serve bar with a great selection of complimentary beverages (including German and Canadian wines, beer & spirits).

The lounge also offers several other facilities:

  • A quiet zone featuring six reclining pods equipped with personal satellite-fed TV screens, USB ports and Sony noise-cancelling headsets.
  • A spa-inspired shower area featuring showers with large rain-shower heads, ambient music and Canadian Escents spa products.
  • A business center equipped with individual flat-screen Dell PCs, colour laser printing and scanning.
AIR CANADA MAPLE LEAF LOUNGE AT FRANKFURT AIRPORT
AIR CANADA MAPLE LEAF LOUNGE AT FRANKFURT AIRPORT
AIR CANADA MAPLE LEAF LOUNGE AT FRANKFURT AIRPORT
AIR CANADA MAPLE LEAF LOUNGE AT FRANKFURT AIRPORT
AIR CANADA MAPLE LEAF LOUNGE AT FRANKFURT AIRPORT
AIR CANADA MAPLE LEAF LOUNGE AT FRANKFURT AIRPORT
AIR CANADA MAPLE LEAF LOUNGE AT FRANKFURT AIRPORT
AIR CANADA MAPLE LEAF LOUNGE AT FRANKFURT AIRPORT
AIR CANADA MAPLE LEAF LOUNGE AT FRANKFURT AIRPORT
AIR CANADA MAPLE LEAF LOUNGE AT FRANKFURT AIRPORT
AIR CANADA MAPLE LEAF LOUNGE AT FRANKFURT AIRPORT
AIR CANADA MAPLE LEAF LOUNGE AT FRANKFURT AIRPORT
AIR CANADA MAPLE LEAF LOUNGE AT FRANKFURT AIRPORT
AIR CANADA MAPLE LEAF LOUNGE AT FRANKFURT AIRPORT
AIR CANADA MAPLE LEAF LOUNGE AT FRANKFURT AIRPORT (VIEW)
AIR CANADA MAPLE LEAF LOUNGE AT FRANKFURT AIRPORT (VIEW)
AIR CANADA MAPLE LEAF LOUNGE AT FRANKFURT AIRPORT
AIR CANADA MAPLE LEAF LOUNGE AT FRANKFURT AIRPORT
AIR CANADA MAPLE LEAF LOUNGE AT FRANKFURT AIRPORT
AIR CANADA MAPLE LEAF LOUNGE AT FRANKFURT AIRPORT
AIR CANADA MAPLE LEAF LOUNGE AT FRANKFURT AIRPORT
AIR CANADA MAPLE LEAF LOUNGE AT FRANKFURT AIRPORT
AIR CANADA MAPLE LEAF LOUNGE AT FRANKFURT AIRPORT
AIR CANADA MAPLE LEAF LOUNGE AT FRANKFURT AIRPORT
AIR CANADA MAPLE LEAF LOUNGE AT FRANKFURT AIRPORT
AIR CANADA MAPLE LEAF LOUNGE AT FRANKFURT AIRPORT
AIR CANADA MAPLE LEAF LOUNGE AT FRANKFURT AIRPORT
AIR CANADA MAPLE LEAF LOUNGE AT FRANKFURT AIRPORT
AIR CANADA MAPLE LEAF LOUNGE AT FRANKFURT AIRPORT
AIR CANADA MAPLE LEAF LOUNGE AT FRANKFURT AIRPORT
AIR CANADA MAPLE LEAF LOUNGE AT FRANKFURT AIRPORT
AIR CANADA MAPLE LEAF LOUNGE AT FRANKFURT AIRPORT
AIR CANADA MAPLE LEAF LOUNGE AT FRANKFURT AIRPORT
AIR CANADA MAPLE LEAF LOUNGE AT FRANKFURT AIRPORT
AIR CANADA MAPLE LEAF LOUNGE AT FRANKFURT AIRPORT
AIR CANADA MAPLE LEAF LOUNGE AT FRANKFURT AIRPORT
AIR CANADA MAPLE LEAF LOUNGE AT FRANKFURT AIRPORT
AIR CANADA MAPLE LEAF LOUNGE AT FRANKFURT AIRPORT
AIR CANADA MAPLE LEAF LOUNGE AT FRANKFURT AIRPORT
AIR CANADA MAPLE LEAF LOUNGE AT FRANKFURT AIRPORT

4. FACTS ABOUT THE AIRBUS A350-1000

Here are some facts about the A350-1000 as provided by Qatar Airways:

  • A350-1000 cabin details:
    • The widest cabin body of any class with vertical sidewalls and larger windows creating an extra spacious feel
    • The largest overhead bins of any aircraft for maximum storage
    • A flat cabin floor without any obstructions for extra legroom
    • The widest seats of any jetliner in its category, with generous room within all classes
  • A350-1000 passenger experience:
    • Advanced air system technology which delivers optimal cabin air quality, renewing air every two-to-three minutes for more comfort and less fatigue
    • A draft-free air circulation system resulting in a low ambient cabin noise level for a more peaceful journey
    • LED mood lighting (with 16.7 million colours) which mimic a natural sunrise and sunset to help reduce the effects of jet lag
    • The quietest cabin of any twin-aisle aircraft and the lightest 350-plus capacity passenger aircraft, placing it at the cutting edge of air travel
  • A350-1000 design & performance:
    • Made from 53% composite material, which allows for lower fuel consumption and carbon emissions per passenger
    • The most advanced fully integrated wing design sporting highly distinctive and super-efficient winglets for greater aerodynamic efficiency
    • An advanced flight control system, which constantly adapts to minimise gust-induced wing loading
    • An active humidification system in First and Business Class that replicates a private jet flying experience
  • A350-1000 technological advancements:
    • The first aircraft to systematically offer internet connectivity, providing passengers with a global broadband connection
    • High-bandwidth fibre optics delivering high-definition video to passengers
    • Cameras installed on the tail and belly of the aircraft that provide passengers with a 360° outside view throughout the flight
    • Advanced design technologies that contribute to fuel consumption which is 25% lower than other aircraft in the same category
QATAR AIRWAYS AIRBUS A350-1000
QATAR AIRWAYS AIRBUS A350-1000
QATAR AIRWAYS AIRBUS A350-1000
QATAR AIRWAYS AIRBUS A350-1000
QATAR AIRWAYS AIRBUS A350-1000
QATAR AIRWAYS AIRBUS A350-1000
QATAR AIRWAYS AIRBUS A350-1000
QATAR AIRWAYS AIRBUS A350-1000

4. BUSINESS CLASS CABIN

Qatar Airways’ A350-1000s feature 46 fully enclosed Business Class seats (called ‘Qsuites’) which are spread over two cabins:  the larger forward cabin contains the bulk of the Qsuites (38 seats in total), while the rear mini-cabin features only two rows of eight Qsuites (and thus feels more private). The two cabins are split by a small galley with one lavatory while the Business Class’ main galley with two more lavatories is located at the front of the aircraft (behind the cockpit).

The Qsuites are arranged in a staggered 1-2-1 layout, offering each passenger direct aisle access. There are different types of seating configurations, with odd-numbered rows featuring rear-facing seats and even-numbered rows having forward facing ones. This may sound similar to British Airways’ odd Ying/Yang seat plan, but the Qsuites layout is in a different league

  • The window seats – which are the best choice for solo travelers – alternate between forward- and rear-facing seats. The rear-facing Qsuites in rows 1, 3, 5, 7, 9 & 11 are closer to the window (since they have their console with control panel on the aisle side); these seats feel more private and make it easier to look out of the window during the flight, and are thus my first pick if flying alone in a Qsuite. The forward-facing Qsuites in rows 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 & 12 are closer to the aisle, since their console is located on the window side; these are still excellent suites but may feel more claustrophobic because you are seated right next to the suite wall.
  • The center seats also alternate between forward- and rear-facing seats. The rear-facing seats have their consoles on the aisle side and are thus located close together, while the forward-facing seats have their consoles in the middle and thus farther apart. These center Qsuites are fully private spaces, but they feature movable panels and TV screens, allowing to transform some of these Qsuites in unique multi-person spaces:
    • Rear-facing center seats in the odd-numbered rows are set close together and can be converted into a shared suite with a double bed for couples or friends traveling together.
    • Lowering the sliding panels can transform two pairs of middle Qsuites into a four person suite, perfect for families or groups traveling together.

The design of the two-cabin Business Class section on the A350-1000 was developed by UK-based design firm PriestmanGoode and truly feels a worlds apart from most of Qatar Airways’ Business Class competitors. LED mood-lighting baths the cabin in Qatar Airways’ signature burgundy light, a soothing color palette which is enhanced with elegant and warm rose gold detailing and and even with some marble-finish whites. You better like pink when you fly in Qatar Airways’ Qsuite, but apart from that, the cabin feels extremely luxurious and exclusive.  

For a seat map of QA’s A350-1000, click here.

QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS CABIN
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS CABIN
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS CABIN
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS CABIN
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS CABIN
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS CABIN
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS CABIN
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS CABIN
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS CABIN
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS CABIN
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS CABIN (IN FLIGHT)
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS CABIN (IN FLIGHT)
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS CABIN (IN FLIGHT)
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS CABIN (IN FLIGHT)
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS CABIN (IN FLIGHT)QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS CABIN (IN FLIGHT)
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS CABIN (IN FLIGHT)

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

I selected Qsuite 5K (a rear-facing window seat) for the 6 hour flight from Frankfurt to Doha.

The Qsuites feature a truly phenomenal and aesthetically pleasing design, with gray upholstery, hand-stitched Italian leather and satin rose gold finishing. They all feature the same dimensions: each seat has a width of 21.5 inches (55 cm) which extends to a 79 inches (2m) long bed. While the length of the bed is generous (and above the industry standard), the seat itself isn’t that wide, which is probably the only negative aspect I can think of when reviewing the Qsuite product. In comparison, Singapore Airlines’ new Business Class seats on its A380 aircraft are 25 inches (63.5 cm) wide (although these seats are slightly shorter than the Qsuite and don’t allow a four person suite configuration).

Of course, one of the Qsuites most remarkable features is that it can be closed off by a burgundy sliding door (with curved design motifs). The door is operated by hand and needs only a minimal push. Once the door is closed, you enjoy complete privacy and can even activate a ‘do not disturb’ button (similar to a hotel room). The door is ‘only’ 53 inches (135 cm) tall, so it still allow the crew to peer over and check in with you as needed; it also lends the Qsuite an airy and spacious ambience (it doesn’t feel claustrophobic). The latter is further enhanced by the way the Qsuite is configured, with additional storage compartments and consoles placed inside the suite. That said, if you want to leave the door open, you’ll still enjoy a lot of privacy as nobody can look directly inside your suite because of the staggered cabin layout.

In front of the seat is a 22-inch HD in-flight entertainment screen, with the tray table and a footrest underneath the TV. The tray table is very easy to handle: you simply pull it fully towards you and then unfold it. Besides the TV – in the Qsuite’s corner – is a large console with a white marble table (the amenities are placed on this table upon boarding). Below this table, within easy reach of the seat, is a storage shelf and an electronic panel that holds the seat and entertainment controls, a 110v outlet, two USB ports, and a contactless NFC reader (which allows to transfer a preselected playlist from the Qatar Airways app to the seat with a tap). Next to the seat is an adjustable armrest that doubles as a secure stowage space; it holds a bottle of water, the noise-cancelling headphones, and inflight magazines.

What are the best Qsuites on QA’s A350-1000? Click here for a seat map.

  • As explained above (under the heading ‘Business Class cabin), solo travelers should go for the rear-facing window seats since these seats feel more private. That said, if you end up in another seat as a solo traveler, there is nothing to worry as even the center seats feature movable panels that guarantee a fully enclosed and private space.
  • Couples should select one of the six pairs of rear-facing middle seats that can convert into a double bed.
  • Families or group of friends should select one of the six blocks of paired rear- and forward-facing middle seats that can convert into a six quad suite.

What are the worst Qsuites on QA’s A350-1000? Click here for a seat map.

  • There are no real bad Qsuites on the A350-1000. However, passengers seated in row 1, 9 and 11 may be bothered by the proximity to the galley and lavatory (with occasional noise disturbance).
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 QSUITE (CENTER)
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 QSUITE (CENTER)
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 QSUITE (WINDOW)
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 QSUITE (FORWARD-FACING WINDOW)
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 QSUITE (WINDOW)
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 QSUITE (REAR-FACING WINDOW)
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 QSUITE (WINDOW)
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 QSUITE (REAR-FACING WINDOW)
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 QSUITE (WINDOW)
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 QSUITE (REAR-FACING WINDOW)
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 QSUITE (WINDOW)
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 QSUITE (WINDOW)
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 QSUITE (WINDOW)
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 QSUITE (WINDOW)
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 QSUITE
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 QSUITE
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 QSUITE
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 QSUITE
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 QSUITE
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 QSUITE
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 QSUITE
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 QSUITE
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 QSUITE
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 QSUITE
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 QSUITE (IN FLIGHT)
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 QSUITE (IN FLIGHT)
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 QSUITE
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 QSUITE
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 QSUITE
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 QSUITE
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 QSUITE
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 QSUITE
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 QSUITE
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 QSUITE
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 QSUITE
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 QSUITE
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 QSUITE
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 QSUITE
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 QSUITE
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 QSUITE
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 QSUITE (FLAT-BED POSITION)
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 QSUITE (FLAT-BED POSITION)
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 QSUITE (FLAT-BED POSITION)
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 QSUITE (FLAT-BED POSITION)

6. AMENITIES

I received the following amenities during my Qsuite Business Class flight from Frankfurt to Doha:

  • An elegant hard-shell amenity bag, created by stylish Italian luggage brand BRIC’S. The bag’s pink color reflected Qatar Airways’ awareness campaign for breast cancer. The kit provided standard items for longhaul travel, such as socks, eyeshades and ear plugs. It also contained lip balm, hydrating facial mist, and moisturizer from Castello Monte Vibiano Vecchio, skincare products which are 100% natural and characterized by actives coming from olive extracts.
  • Excellent sleeping amenities, including two pillows and a plush blanket.
  • Oryx One branded noise-cancelling headphones, which were of mediocre quality as they didn’t completely block out the cabin noise.

It has to be noted that this was a medium-haul day flight. Qatar Airways provides even more amenities on longer or overnight flights:

  • A quilted mattress and extra (third) pillow on longhaul flights
  • Slippers and pajamas from The White Company on overnight flights (with the exception of regional flight or flights under 5 hours).
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS: AMENITY KIT
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS: AMENITY KIT
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 QSUITE: BLANKET
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 QSUITE: BLANKET
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 QSUITE: PILLOW
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 QSUITE: PILLOW

7. MEALS

Like the hard product of the Qsuite, Qatar Airways’ soft product is also top-notch, beginning with meal service. The carrier offers dine-on-demand service in its Business Class cabins: you can dine at any time of your choosing and order whatever you want from the menu. The menu and extensive wine lists are made out of chic glossy paper.

On this almost six-hour flight, one lunch was offered, but there was also a separate snack menu in case you got hungry again. I choose the following selection from the lunch menu:

  • Soup: white courgette cream soup with watercress pesto
  • Appetizer: grilled prawns with sweet potato, fennel & carrot salad, lemon oil, and shiso cress
  • Main course: chicken kabsa, with fragrant basmatic rice and cucumber raita
  • Dessert: apple strudel, served with crème anglaise and berries

Each of the dishes was delicious. And not only was the food excellent, it was also very tastefully presented (I loved the quality dishware).

Qatar Airways puts a lot of efforts in its Business Class meal service. For example, an amuse-bouche is served before dinner (on this flight: seared tuna in spicy mango salsa), a beautifully presented bread basket is offered to each passenger, and to top it all off, fine Belgian chocolates are offered after dinner. In fact, Qatar Airways’ food offering in Business Class is as good as what you get in First Class or in a top-notch restaurant on the ground.

QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS WELCOME DRINK
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS WELCOME DRINK
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS: MENU
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS: MENU
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS: MENU
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS: MENU
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS: MENU
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS: MENU
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS: MENU
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS: MENU
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS: WINE LIST
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS: WINE LIST
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS: WINE LIST
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS: WINE LIST
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS: WINE LIST
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS: WINE LIST
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS: WINE LIST
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS: WINE LIST
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS: WINE LIST
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS: WINE LIST
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS: WINE LIST
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS: WINE LIST
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS: WINE LIST
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS: WINE LIST
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS: WINE LIST
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS: WINE LIST
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS: WINE LIST
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS: WINE LIST
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS: WINE LIST
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS: WINE LIST
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS: WINE LIST
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS: WINE LIST
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS: WINE LIST
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS: WINE LIST
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS: WINE LIST
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS: WINE LIST
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS: WINE LIST
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS: WINE LIST
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS: WINE LIST
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS: WINE LIST
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS: WINE LIST
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS: WINE LIST
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS: WINE LIST
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS: WINE LIST
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS: WINE LIST
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS: WINE LIST
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS: LUNCH
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS: LUNCH
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS: LUNCH
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS: LUNCH
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS: LUNCH
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS: LUNCH
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS: LUNCH
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS: LUNCH
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS: LUNCH
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS: LUNCH
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS: LUNCH
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS: LUNCH
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS: LUNCH
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS: LUNCH
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS: LUNCH
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS: LUNCH
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS: LUNCH
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS: LUNCH

8. INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT

Called ‘Oryx One’, Qatar Airways’ inflight entertainment system allows you to choose up to 3000 (!!!) entertainment options, with a wide selection of movies, series, TV programs, music, games and reads. You can select your entertainment selection by either directly touching the 22-inch HD screen or with a wired remote controller which has its own small screen. This allows you to watch a movie or TV show on the main screen while you can keep track of the flight’s progress on the wired controller. Both the screen itself and the handheld remote are incredibly responsive. Oryx One is also compatible with your own media device: you can plug it into the HDMI port to play your own entertainment content. There’s even a contactless NFC reader which allows to transfer your preselected playlist from the Qatar Airways app to your screen with a tap. One of Oryx One’s best features are the cameras, which are installed on the A350’s tail and belly; they offer amazingly clear (almost panoramic) outside views during the different phases of the flight. You can combine them with the interactive 3D Voyager flight map to explore the world outside the plane.

QATAR AIRWAYS A350 INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT: TAIL CAMERA
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT: TAIL CAMERA
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT: TAIL CAMERA
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT: TAIL CAMERA
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT: TAIL CAMERA
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT: TAIL CAMERA
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT: TAIL CAMERA
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT: TAIL CAMERA

9. ONBOARD INTERNET

Qatar Airways’ A350s feature onboard WiFi. You simply need to turn on your computer or smart phone, open a browser window, and follow the onscreen directions. On this flight, the first 30 minutes of WiFi were complimentary. If you liked to use onboard WiFi for longer or you needed more data, you could choose from the following three tariff plans:

  • $ 5 USD for up to 30 MB
  • $ 10 USD for up to 100 MB
  • $ 20 USD for up to 200 MB

I only used the complimentary 30 minutes of WiFi and I was happy with the speed, which seemed consistent and not frustratingly slow.

QATAR AIRWAYS A350 WIFI
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 WIFI
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 WIFI
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 WIFI
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 WIFI
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 WIFI

10. OTHER INFLIGHT EXPERIENCES

#CREW: the young QA cabin crew members on this A350 flight did a great job and were all very friendly. Something I like (and only experience with Middle East and Asian carriers) is that they present themselves individually before take-off, and also thank you in person for choosing QA before landing. It makes you feel very special and welcome. On this flight, I noticed that the crew also guided Business Class passengers to their Qsuites, a perk that is normally only offered in First Class.

# TOILET: there are 3 lavatories for the maximum 46 Business Class passengers onboard Qatar Airways’ A350-1000 aircraft. Two are located behind the cockpit, and one is between the two Business Class cabins. The lavatories are equipped with windows and stocked with skincare products from Rituals (e.g. body mist, hand lotion).

QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS LAVATORY
QATAR AIRWAYS A350 BUSINESS CLASS LAVATORY

# VIEWS: thanks to the clear weather, we enjoyed some great aerial views of the Alps during the initial phase of the flight.

QATAR AIRWAYS A350: VIEW AFTER TAKEOFF
QATAR AIRWAYS A350: VIEW AFTER TAKEOFF
QATAR AIRWAYS A350: VIEW OF ALPS
QATAR AIRWAYS A350: VIEW OF ALPS

11. MY VERDICT
  • Air Canada lounge (Frankfurt): 8/10
  • Cabin design: 10/10
  • Seat comfort (upright): 9/10
  • Seat comfort (bed position): 9/10
  • Food (quality):  9/10
  • Food (quantity): 9/10
  • Inflight entertainment : 9/10
  • WiFi: 9/10
  • Service: 9/10
  • Overall experience: exceptional: 9.2/10

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The post Review: Qatar Airways A350 Qsuite from Frankfurt to Doha appeared first on the Luxury Travel Expert.

Top 10 best airlines for longhaul Business Class

Monday newsletters always feature top 10 travel lists to inspire.

Today (April 8, 2019): Top 10 world’s best airlines for longhaul Business Class.

Each year, I give a round-up of my favorite 10 Business Class products in the world. Flying Business Class is purely aspirational for most, a lifetime experience for some, and a must for a select few. With Business Class, the journey itself becomes a fun experience: you don’t have to wait in line at the airport; you get access to airport lounges; you interact with attentive personnel; you are treated to gourmet food and quality wines; and you can sleep in a comfortable flat-bed for total relaxation. But which airline has the best Business Class cabin product anno 2019? I hereby present you my selection of the top 10 best Business Class cabins of 2019 (reflecting my own personal taste).

There is more information (with trip reports & Youtube clips) below my slideshow. Think I missed one? Leave a comment or take my poll below!

Click to view slideshow.

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10. BRITISH AIRWAYS

While British Airways’ Business Class (dubbed Club World) raised the bar worldwide two decades ago with the introduction of the first fully lie-flat seat and an innovative “Ying/Yang” seat plan, the seat concept itself is now dated and outclassed by some of its competitors. So you would not expect British Airways to end up in a top 10 list like this one, but it remains one of my preferred airlines for longhaul travel, because the product is consistent across its wide-body fleet and the seat is extremely private (as long as you don’t end up along the aisle). And as I recently experienced myself, British Airways dramatically increased its onboard experience over the past year, with improved catering (from DO&CO), excellent bedding, and stylish amenity kits, which rivals the best in the skies. In July, the airline will also introduce a new suite concept onboard its A350 planes, with direct-aisle access, a suite door for greater privacy, luxurious flat-bed seats in a 1-2-1 configuration, enviable 18.5-inch inflight entertainment screens, and 40 % more storage space per seat (including a vanity unit and mirror).

  • Official websiteBritish Airways.
  • Review: read here my review of British Airways’ Business Class in an Airbus A380.
  • Review: read here my review of British Airways’ Business Class in a Boeing 747-400.
  • Review: read here my review of British Airways’ Business Class in a Boeing 777-300ER.
  • Review: read here my review of British Airways’ Business Class in a Boeing 787-9  Dreamliner.


9. EMIRATES

The success of Emirates’ Business Class product is very much based on the comfort and space of its Airbus A380 fleet, and that’s why the mega plane is rolled out on all major international routes of the Dubai based carrier. With a staggered 1–2–1 configuration in Business Class, each passenger is assured of direct aisle access and a significant amount of privacy. The window Business Class seats are perfect for solo travelers, while the dual and more intimate seats in the center of the cabin are perfect for partners traveling together. Mammoth amenity kits, a huge inflight entertainment selection, and a roomy and well-appointed bar on the upper deck makes flying Emirates’ A380 quite an event, and in addition, the ground service matches the flying experience (e.g. chauffeur service, a gigantic Dubai lounge). Unfortunately, the Business Class cabins in most of Emirates’ Boeing 777s are laid out in a 2-3-2 configuration (with no direct aisle acces for all passengers), which is significantly inferior to the one offered on the airline’s Airbus A380 fleet.

  • Official websiteEmirates
  • Review: read here my review of Emirates’ Business Class in an Airbus A380.
  • Review: read here my review of Emirates’ Business Class in a Boeing 777-300ER.
  • Review: read here my review of Emirates’ Business Class in a Boeing 777-200LR.


8. JAPAN AIRLINES (JAL)

Business Class seats on selected JAL planes are named JAL Sky Suites, since each seat is located in its own private space. The seats come with retractable privacy partitions (which can be lowered when you are traveling with a companion), ample storage space beneath an ottoman, and a 23-inch (58 cm) LCD monitor (one of the largest in its class). Comfortable bedding is offered as well, consisting of a highly resilient airweave mattress and pillow, which will send you off to dreamland even if you have trouble falling asleep on a plane. In 2017, JAL began outfitting its B787-9s with a new version of the suite, the so called JAL Sky Suite III which are laid out in a 1-2-1 configuration, providing all passengers with direct aisle access. On top of that, JAL offers some of the finest Business Class food in the skies, with both Western and Japanese menus created by chefs that are working in leading restaurants around the world. You can order in-flight meals from an a la carte menu by tapping a liquid-crystal touch-panel controller, in any order, at any time, and as often as you wish.

  • Official website: Japan Airlines
  • Review: read here my review of Japan Airlines’ Business Class in a Boeing 777-300ER.


7. EVA AIR

Taiwan based EVA Air calls its international Business class ‘Royal Laurel Class’, providing passengers with comfortable sleeping space for a sufficient rest that is free from disturbances. The seats in Royal Laurel Class onboard EVA’s B777s and B787s are configured in a reverse herringbone 1-2-1 layout that maximizes space. Privacy is assured through fixed panels that help create your own personal area. At the push of a button, each seat converts into an approximately 82 inches (2 meter) long bed, enabling passengers to lie down, get comfortable and sleep on long-haul flights. Thoughtful touches include a space to hang your jacket, a shoe cabinet, a retractable armrest, and a cocktail table. This excellent Business Class product is complemented by exclusive amenity kits, noise-canceling headphones, Fiji water, mouth-watering cuisine from all over the world (ranging from luscious beef steak to delicious lobster), and the warm, friendly service EVA Air is known for. To top it all, EVA Air is one of the few airlines to offer pajamas in Business Class; loose and comfortable, these garments are perfect for slumbering on long-haul flights.

EVA AIR


6. VIRGIN AUSTRALIA

Business Class on Virgin Australia’s Boeing 777-300ER aircraft features 37 private suites (that convert into the length of a queen size bed) in a reverse herringbone 1-2-1 cabin layout. The aisle seats face outwards towards the windows and the center two seats face inwards towards each other on a roughly 30 degree angle. Customised triple-layer seat cushion supported by a hammock sub-frame and a turndown service with memory foam mattress toppers and high-grade cotton pillows and donnas make for a good night’s sleep on the airline’s longhaul routes from Australia to Los Angeles and Abu Dhabi. Virgin Australia is also the first airline to have a lounge onboard a single deck aircraft, which offers a selection of nibbles and bites, beer, wine and spirits as well as a hot beverage selection with petit fours. The carrier also offers its passengers continental breakfast at the bar prior to the full breakfast service, or the opportunity to enjoy a full breakfast at the bar rather than in the suite. A new signature service element includes cocktails and movie snack service each hour throughout the flight.

VIRGIN AUSTRALIA


5. DELTA AIR LINES

In 2017, Delta Air Lines redefined transatlantic and transpacific Business Class travel with the introduction of a Business Class cabin that features a sliding door at each suite. The suites offer passenger a private space accessed by a sliding door with thoughtfully designed personal stowage areas, an advanced in-flight entertainment system, and premium trim and finishes to create a comfortable, residential feel. Service in Delta One (which is how Delta calls its international Business Class cabin) includes chef-curated meals, wine pairings by Delta’s Master Sommelier Andrea Robinson, terrific Westin in-flight bedding, TUMI amenity kits featuring Kiehl premium skincare, and in-flight loungewear on select flights. The Delta One suite is currently only available on Delta’s A350s and some retrofitted B777s, which flies on selected routes such as Los Angeles to Sydney or Tokyo. Delta will refurbish all eight of its 777-200ER and all ten of its 777-200LR aircraft and expects to have taken delivery of 13 A350s by the end of 2019. The bad news is that when you don’t get to fly the A350 or B777, the experience will be less than stellar.

  • Official websiteDelta Air Lines
  • Review: read here my review of Delta’s Business Class in a Boeing 767.

DELTA AIR LINES


4. CATHAY PACIFIC

Hong Kong based Cathay Pacific offers a consistent and solid Business Class product, featuring a flat-bed that is just over 82 inches or 2 meters long. A bed extension increases its width by 6.5 inches or 16.5 cm to provide additional hip support, while the side storage compartment offers extra knee space for sleeping on your side. For sleeping, you may choose to leave your armrest up for more privacy, or down for more space. In fact, Cathay’s Business Class seat is identical to the one installed on American Airlines, Finnair, and Air France, but Cathay deserves to take the top spot for their difference in customer service, impressive lounges, cabin crew training, and award-winning cuisine, whilst ensuring their price point still remains competitive. The carrier’s newest Business Class seat is found on its A350 planes, although it is basically a refreshed design of Cathay’s ‘old’ Business Class product onboard its B777 and A330 planes. Keep in mind that Cathay’s top-notch Business Class product is not available on some B777 planes with a regional configuration, so plan your travels accordingly.

  • Official websiteCathay Pacific
  • Review: read here my review of Cathay Pacific’s Business Class in an Airbus A350.
  • Review: read here my review of Cathay Pacific’s Business Class in an Airbus A330.
  • Review: read here my review of Cathay Pacific’s Business Class in a Boeing 777-300ER.


3. ETIHAD AIRWAYS

Business Class with the national carrier of the United Arab Emirates is not business as usual. The Business Studios on Etihad’s A380s and 787 Dreamliners can be customised to suit every stage of the journey and are the embodiment of style, simplicity and functionality. The cabin has a unique dovetail design with forward and rear facing seats that creates a sense of space and freedom, with direct aisle access and convenient storage spaces. Upholstered by Poltrona Frau, the 22-inch (56 cm) wide seat converts into a comfortable fully flat bed of up to 6 feet and 8 inches (203 cm). The Business Studio offers a space for everything, including a concealed storage, a meal table and a separate large side table that can be used for laptops and other personal belongings when you are dining. Located between First and Business Class, there’s also a lounge on the A380 that seats up to six guests and is fitted with seatbelts, power supply and connectivity ports. Unfortunately, Etihad Airways’ A330, A320 and B777 planes feature a less glamorous Business Class product and the carrier is facing financial challenges.

  • Official websiteEtihad Airways
  • Review: read here my review of Etihad Airways’ Business Class in an Airbus A330.
  • Review: read here my review of Etihad Airways’ Business Class in a Boeing 777.


2. SINGAPORE AIRLINES

Singapore Airlines has always been synonymous with lavishing luxury in the skies. And they do not fail to impress. With their width of 30 inches or 75 cm, the carrier’s Business Class seats on its A350 and B777 aircraft are the widest in the world (too wide for comfort, according to some). The unrivalled space between each seat is a hallmark of the four-abreast (1-2-1) configuration that offers all passengers direct access to the aisle. Designed by JPA and introduced in 2017 on their A380 aircraft, the carrier’s new Business Class seat – albeit more narrow – is even better than the previous incarnation of the seat. A large back shell on every seat creates a cocoon-like feel for more privacy while the centre divider can be fully lowered to form double beds, making the two centre seats an ideal choice for customers such as families travelling together. Singapore Airlines also offers a fine restaurant-style setting and culinary service at 30,000 feet. Each menu, specially created by a panel of celebrated chefs from around the globe, is sure to appeal to the discerning epicure within you.

  • Official websiteSingapore Airlines
  • Review: read here my review of Singapore Airlines’ Business Class in an Airbus A350.
  • Review: read here my review of Singapore Airlines’ Business Class in an Airbus A380.
  • Review: read here my review of Singapore Airlines’ Business Class in an Airbus A330.
  • Review: read here my review of Singapore Airlines’ Business Class in a Boeing 787 Dreamliner.


1. QATAR AIRWAYS

In 2017, Qatar Airways – which is still facing challenges following a severe diplomatic crisis in the Middle East – took its Business Class product to a new, unprecedented level of luxury and style, raising the bar for all of its competitors. The so-called ‘Qsuite’ features not only Business Class suites with sliding doors for total privacy but also double beds, allowing passengers in adjoining seats to create their own private room. Adjustable panels and movable TV monitors on the center four seats also allow colleagues, friends or families traveling together to transform their space into a four person suite, allowing them to work, dine and socialize together. Each seat is crafted with thoughtful and luxurious details such as hand-stitched Italian leather and satin rose gold finishing. To further complement the customisable on-board seating experience that passengers will now enjoy, Qatar Airways is also launching a new food and beverage concept, introducing a menu that offers a host of new dining choices. The Qsuite, which makes Business Class look First Class. is only available on selected routes and aircraft (A350-1000s and some retrofitted B777s and A350-900s).

  • Official websiteQatar Airways
  • Review: read here my review of Qatar Airways’ Qsuite Business Class in an Airbus A350.
  • Review: read here my review of Qatar Airways’ Business Class in a Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
  • Review: read here my review of Qatar Airways’ Business Class in a Boeing 777-300.
  • Review: read here my review of Qatar Airways’ Business Class in an Airbus A330.


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Review: Avianca B787 Dreamliner Business Class from Bogota to Madrid

Wednesday newsletters always feature a hotel or flight review.

Today (April 3, 2019): Review of Avianca’s B787 Business Class from Bogota to Madrid.

I recently flew Business Class onboard an Avianca Boeing B787-8 Dreamliner from Bogota’s El Dorado International Airport (Colombia) to Madrid’s Barajas International Airport (Spain). Avianca is the flagship carrier of Colombia and the second oldest airline in the world (after KLM). I was intially booked on flight AV26 (which was suposed to depart Bogota early afternoon) but that flight was cancelled for unspecified technical reasons, after which I was rebooked on flight AV46 (which left Bogota at 7.50 pm on the same day). I am not sure whether the technical reason had anything to do with the B787 Royce Rolls Trent 1000 engine troubles, which has forced several airlines across the globe (including Avianca) to ground some of its B787 aircraft and operate others with certain restrictions (affected B787s on transoceanic flights must have a diversion airport within 140 minutes of flight times). Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by Avianca’s modern Business Class product (with great seats and layout) although the soft product could be improved, specifically the onboard service and the food presentation. Nonetheless, Avianca has a solid Business Class offering on its B787 aircraft which I would be happy to fly again.

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

  • Trip: Bogota (BOG) to Madrid (MAD)
  • Airline: Avianca
  • Aircraft type: Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner
  • Aircraft registration number: N786AV
  • Flight Number: AV46
  • Date: 20 February 2019
  • On time departure: yes (8 pm)
  • On time arrival: yes (12.20 pm)
  • Miles: 4990 miles
  • Flight time: 9 hours and 20 minutes
  • Seat: 4K
  • Class: Business Class

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

  1. Cost of my ticket
  2. Facts & figures about Avianca
  3. Business Class cabin
  4. Business Class seat (+ best & worst seats)
  5. Amenities
  6. Meals
  7. Entertainment
  8. Onboard internet
  9. Other inflight experiences (crew, bar, lavatory & views)
  10. My verdict (score)

Click to view slideshow.

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1. COST OF MY TICKET

I booked the ticket on the Avianca website and paid $3489 USD (including taxes) for my return ticket between Bogota & Madrid. This is more than the usual price (Avianca offers these tickets under $2000 USD when you book in advance during a promotion), but I had to book the ticket last-minute due to personal reasons.


2. FACTS & FIGURES ABOUT AVIANCA
  • Avianca has been the national airline and flag carrier of Colombia since 5 December 1919, when it was initially registered under the name SCADTA.
  • Avianca is the world’s second oldest airline after KLM.
  • Avianca is the second largest carrier in Latin America, after LATAM of Brazil & Chile.
  • Avianca is an official member of Star Alliance, one of the world’s largest airline alliances, which offers the possibility to connect to more than 1,300 destinations in 191 countries globally.
  • Avianca’s frequent flyer program LifeMiles​ has 7,2 million registered members, and is regarded as one of the best loyalty programs in the world.
  • Avianca operates around 6000 weekly flights to 108 destinations in 26 countries.
  • Avianca has 103 aircraft in its fleet. This includes a modern wide body fleet of 7 Airbus A330 planes (average age 8 years) and 13 Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner planes (average age 3 years).
AVIANCA B787 DREAMLINER
AVIANCA B787 DREAMLINER
AVIANCA B787 DREAMLINER
AVIANCA B787 DREAMLINER

3. BUSINESS CLASS CABIN

Avianca’s B787s all feature the same layout: they seat 28 passengers in Business Class and 222 passengers in Economy Class. The 28 lie-flat Business Class seats are spread over two cabins: the larger front cabin contains five rows of 20 seats, while a smaller mini-cabin behind features only two rows of eight seats (and thus feels more private). The two cabins are split by a small galley while the Business Class’ main galley with two lavatories is located at the front of the aircraft (behind the cockpit). Both cabins feature a neutral design that is more functional than esthetic, with seats covered in chic gray upholstery, sterile white seat walls, black seat tables, and some subtle red touches reflecting Avianca’s brand color (e.g. tv screens upon boarding and leg-side storage compartment at the seat).

The Business Class seats in both cabins are arranged in an excellent reverse herringbone 1-2-1 layout, with the seats on the sides angled out toward the windows while those in the plane’s center are angled toward one another. This configuration maximalizes privacy while ensuring direct aisle access for all passengers. This is currently the best Business Class layout in the skies, and you also find it onboard the planes of American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Qatar Airways, Finnair, and SriLankan to name a few.

Click here for a seat map of Avianca’s B787 Dreamliners.

AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS CABIN
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS CABIN
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS CABIN
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS CABIN
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS CABIN
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS CABIN
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS CABIN (MOOD LIGHTING)
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS CABIN (MOOD LIGHTING)
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS CABIN (MOOD LIGHTING)
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS CABIN (MOOD LIGHTING)

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

I had chosen seat 4K for the 9 hour flight from Bogota to Madrid.  All Business Class seats feature the same dimensions, with a pitch of 192 cm (72 inches) and a width of 53 cm (21 inch).

One side of the seat – located towards the cabin wall for the window seats or the center line for middle seats – features a large console with some storage space inside. This console holds the noise-cancelling headphones upon boarding, but once you remove them it has enough room to store your smaller personal belonging (e.g. cellphone, wallet, glasses). On this console’s outer wall, you find a reading light (at eye level), the seat controls, a wired controller for the inflight entertainment system, jacks for the headphones, a USB port, and a universal power plug. This side of the seat also features a trapezoid shaped working surface, with a rather small tray table hidden underneath; it’s very easy to slide the table out and swing it back and forth according to your liking. Below the table armrest is also a holder for stowing a bottle of water during the flight. The seat’s other side features a folding armrest and another storage compartment (large enough to fit a tablet or small handbag).

The seat’s sidewall features a 16 inches entertainment screen that swings out towards the seat upon the push of a button. While the screen is not very large, it’s adequately sized, given the small distance between the TV screen and the seat. Unfortunately, it doesn’t tilt up and down, so unfortunately, watching the screen from the near or fully flat-bed position is almost impossible. The suite’s apex, below the TV screen, features an ottoman footrest which provides an additional storage area. When the seat is reclined, the footrest forms part of the fully flat-bed, which is 2 meters (82 inches) long. When sleeping, you may choose to leave the aisle armrest up for more privacy, or down for more space.

What are the best Business Class seats on Avianca’s B787s? For a seat map, click here.

  • Solo travelers should choose one of the window seats.
  • Travel companions should go for the middle seats. However, due to how private they are, they really don’t lend themselves all that well to traveling with a partner, as you have to lean forward when you want to have a chat (the consoles of both seats are located in the middle).

What are the worst Business Class seats on Avianca’s B787s? For a seat map, click here.

  • I suggest to avoid the very front row (row 1) due to its proximity to the galley and lavatories.
  • I also suggest to avoid the last row of Business Class (row 7) which is in front of the Economy bassinet seats.
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT (FLAT BED POSITION)
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT (FLAT BED POSITION)

5. AMENITIES

Business Class passengers receive the following amenities on one of Avianca’s longhaul flights:

  • A Tumi-branded amenity kit (brown pouch), which holds travel essentials such as toothpaste, toothbrush, eye mask, earplugs, socks, tissues, covers for the earphones, a pen, and skin care products from L’Occitaine (lip balm and hand cream).
  • A plush pillow and a soft blanket, comparable to the excellent Saks Fifth Avenue sleeping amenities provided by United Airlines
  • Avianca branded noise-cancelling headphones, which aren’t of the greatest quality (I advise to bring your own)

Unfortunately, the one thing that’s missing for optimal sleep comfort is a sleeping mattress (which is not provided by Avianca). Although the seat features great padding in the seating position, it feels a little too hard in the bed mode; in addition, it’s not very hygienic that you sleep on the same cover where many other have slept on before you.

AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS: AMENITY KIT
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS: AMENITY KIT
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS: AMENITY KIT
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS: AMENITY KIT
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS: AMENITY KIT
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS: AMENITY KIT
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS: AMENITY KIT
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS: AMENITY KIT
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS: PILLOW & BLANKET
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS: PILLOW & BLANKET
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS: NOISE-CANCELLING HEADPHONES
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS: NOISE-CANCELLING HEADPHONES

6. MEALS

During this overnight flight, two meals were offered: a dinner after takeoff and a breakfast before landing. Menus were nicely executed (with all options mentioned in English and Spanish) although the food presentation was not. Dinner service felt pushed, with the starter and main course served at once on the same tray, and dessert shortly thereafter (although some may like this ‘express service’ as it allows more time to sleep). I had the following selection from the dinner menu:

  • Starter: Caprese salad with buffalo bocconcini cheese, seasoned with green pesto
  • Main course: ricotta and spinach ravioli in tomato sauce, with shredded beef shoulder, served with asparagus and grilled mushrooms
  • Dessert: chocolate ice cream

While the food was not bad, it tasted very salty and I found the meal presentation bland and uninspiring (especially when compared to the Business Class offerings by other airlines).

Ninety minutes prior to landing, I was offered a breakfast, which – unfortunately – ranks among my most disappointing breakfasts in Business Class. It comprised some fruits (which were the highlight of the breakfast) and one dry sandwich. Breakfast was served with one main course (I had traditional pancakes with mascarpone, peach, and walnuts) but a glaring omission on the breakfast menu was the lack of cereals and yoghurt.

AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS: WELCOME DRINK
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS: WELCOME DRINK
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS: APERITIF
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS: APERITIF
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS: MENU
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS: MENU
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS: MENU
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS: MENU
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS: MENU
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS: MENU
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS: MENU
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS: MENU
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS: MENU
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS: MENU
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS: MENU
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS: MENU
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS: MENU
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS: MENU
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS: AMENITY KIT
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS: AMENITY KIT
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS: DINNER
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS: DINNER
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS: DINNER
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS: DINNER
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS: DINNER
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS: DINNER
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS: DINNER
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS: DINNER
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS: BREAKFAST
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS: BREAKFAST
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS: BREAKFAST
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS: BREAKFAST
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS: BREAKFAST
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS: BREAKFAST

7. ENTERTAINMENT

As mentioned above, each Business Class seat features a 16 inches entertainment screen in the sidewall which swings out towards you upon the push of a button. The inflight entertainment features a wide selection of movies, series, TV programs, music, games and reads. One of the system’s best features is the interactive 3D Voyager flight map, which ranks among the best in the industry. You can navigate the inflight entertainment by directly touching the screen or by using a handheld remote which has its own small screen. This allows you to watch a movie or TV show on the main screen while you can keep track of the flight’s progress on the wired controller.

AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS: ENTERTAINMENT CONTROLLER
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS: ENTERTAINMENT CONTROLLER
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS: INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS: INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS: INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS: INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT

8. ONBOARD INTERNET

Avianca offers internet onboard its B787s, in alliance with FlySurfer. Above 10,000 feet, you can access the “Avianca” Wi-Fi network from your laptop, tablet, or smartphone to use your favorite applications, check your email, or browse the web. There are different tarif plans according to your needs.


9. OTHER INFLIGHT EXPERIENCES

#CREW: Albeit professional, my experience with Latin American carriers is that the cabin crew is not overly friendly, sometimes creating a rather rude and cold impression. It was not different on this flight: some flight attendants were very attentive, while others did not seem to care about their job.

# TOILET: There are two lavatories onboard Avianca’s B787 aircraft for Business Class passengers, both of them located behind the cockpit. The lavatories are stocked with L’Occitaine toiletries.

AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS: LAVATORY
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS: LAVATORY
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS: LAVATORY
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS: LAVATORY
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS: LAVATORY
AVIANCA B787 BUSINESS CLASS: LAVATORY

10. MY VERDICT
  • Cabin design: 8/10
  • Seat comfort (upright): 9/10
  • Seat comfort (bed position): 9/10
  • Food (quality):  6/10
  • Food (quantity): 8/10
  • Inflight entertainment : 9/10
  • WiFi: 9/10
  • Service: 6/10
  • Overall experience: good: 7,5/10

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The post Review: Avianca B787 Dreamliner Business Class from Bogota to Madrid appeared first on the Luxury Travel Expert.

Top 10 best hotel loyalty programs to join in 2019

Monday newsletters always feature top 10 travel lists to inspire.

Today (April 1, 2019): Top 10 best hotel reward programs.

Almost all major hotel chains own a lucrative loyalty program that allow guests to earn hotel points and redeem them for discounted or free stays. Everybody should participate in these programs as they can save you tons of money (although many programs have devaluated in the last couple of years). Unfortunately, the high-end luxury hotel chains are rather reluctant to the idea of a loyalty program, hence why only very few of them offer one. I hereby present the 10 most rewarding hotel loyalty programs for luxury travel and what they offer (with pros and cons). However, always keep in mind that deciding which hotel loyalty program is best for you will mainly depend on 4 factors:

  1. The number of hotels in a chain (larger chains offer more options to earn and redeem points);
  2. The benefits that are most important to you;
  3. The destinations where you travels take you to (some chains are better represented in certain countries as compared to others);
  4. The type of hotel you want to stay at (ranging from budget to ultraluxurious).

What’s your favorite hotel reward program? Leave a comment or take my poll below.

Click to view slideshow.

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10. DISCOVERY

Discovery is the loyalty program of the Global Hotel Alliance (GHA), the world’s largest alliance of independent hotel brands. With recognition across 34 luxury hotel brands – all with their own unique character – and more than 550 hotels spread around the globe, Discovery members can experience a property that truly reflects the culture and traditions of its location, while enjoying all the benefits of loyalty, including room upgrades and comfort-enhancing perks.

  • Official website: Discovery
  • Review: read here my review of the program (with pros & cons).
  • The program’s best standout feature: Discovery elite members receive ‘complimentary, local experience awards’ which are rewarded based upon membership level & activity in the program.
  • Hotel brands: the program includes some exclusive hotel brands, such as Alila, Kempinski, Viceroy, Per Aquum, Avani, Corinthia, The Leela Palace Hotels & Resorts, and Anantara. You can access the full list of 34 brands here.

GHA DISCOVERY


9. LE CLUB ACCOR

AccorHotels is a French multinational hospitality company that represents the largest hotel group in the world outside of the United States. It operates in 100 countries, with more than 4,200 hotels and 250,000 employees worldwide. AccorHotels recently acquired Swissôtel, Raffles and Fairmont properties and entered a strategic partnership with Banyan Tree, drastically increasing its share in the luxury market. AccorHotels’ loyalty program is called Le Club Accor and it very simple: for every 2,000 points you collect, you can redeem for a €40 Accor voucher (which comes down to receiving cashback – in Accor vouchers – of 5% as a base member).

  • Official website: Le Club Accor
  • The program’s best standout feature: members have access to 10% discounts at participating hotels.
  • Hotel brands: members earn points and exchange them for valuable rewards at all AccorHotels brands, including hotels managed by Banyan Tree, Raffles, Fairmont, Sofitel, Swissôtel, Novotel and Pulman. You can access the full list of 34 brands here.

LE CLUB ACCOR


8. JUMEIRAH SIRIUS

Named after the brightest star, the Jumeirah Sirius recognition and rewards program illuminates the very best experiences that Jumeirah Hotels, Resorts & Residences present across the world. Members earn Jumeirah Sirius points and exchange them for valuable rewards when they stay at one of the more than 20 Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts in the world (in fascinating destination such as Dubai, the Maldives, Frankfurt, London, and Rome). Jumeirah’s flagship hotel is the world-famous, self-proclaimed seven star hotel, Burj Al Arab in Dubai.

  • Official website: Jumeirah Sirius
  • Review: read here my review of the program (with pros & cons).
  • The program’s best standout feature: Sirius Jumeirah points can be used for a free stay at Jumeirah’s iconic and world-famous Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai.
  • Hotel brands: the program is of use when staying at hotels owned and/or managed by Jumeirah.


7. GOLDEN CIRCLE BY SHANGRI-LA

Golden Circle is the complimentary loyalty program of Hong Kong-based Shangri-La, regarded as one of the world’s finest hotel brands. Owning and/or managing over 100 hotels and resorts throughout Asia Pacific, North America, the Middle East and Europe, the Shangri-La group has a room inventory of over 40,000. Golden Circle is a program that allows members to earn and redeem points at all Shangri-La hotels (including restaurants & spas) across the globe.

  • Official website: Golden Circle
  • The program’s best standout feature: Golden Circle’s top tier members enjoy cash advance of up to $300 USD per stay on major credit cards (no hotel commission or handling fee).
  • Hotel brands: the program is valid for all Shangri-La hotels. Members also earn credits and have access to loyalty benefits when staying at other hotel brands managed by Shangri-La, such as Traders Hotels, Kerry Hotels and Hotel Jen. As a Golden Circle member, you can also earn and redeem points every time you stay at any Taj hotel.


6. EXPEDIA REWARDS

One of the web’s biggest travel sites, Expedia, offers a very lucrative loyalty program. Guests can earn Expedia points based on nights stayed as well as on dollars spent, dividing program members into three ascending tiers. Free membership automatically gives you blue status, followed by silver status after you spend $5,000 USD on eligible bookings or staying 7 qualifying hotel room nights, and gold status after spending $10,000 USD on eligible bookings or staying 15 qualifying hotel room nights. Points earned can then be redeemed on Expedia for future trips.

  • Official website: Expedia Rewards
  • The program’s best standout feature: with Expedia Rewards you can triple dip. When you travel as an Expedia+ member, you may still be able to earn your airline frequent-flyer points and credit-card rewards points as well as Expedia Rewards points on applicable bookings.
  • Hotel brands: the Expedia Rewards program covers all hotels worldwide, as long as you make your bookings through Expedia.


5. HILTON HONORS

When you become a Hilton Honors member, you earn Honors points for staying at one of the 4,600 hotels and resorts worldwide within the Hilton portfolio. You also earn Honors points whenever you travel, shop, dine or spend with Hilton’s partners, which includes airlines, car rentals, redit cards and wine clubs amon others. Rewards include free nights with no blackout dates, but you can also redeem Honors points with the program’s travel, shopping, dining and entertainment partners.

  • Official website: Hilton Honors
  • Review: read here my review of the program (with pros & cons).
  • The program’s best standout feature: in 2018, Hilton Honors introduced ‘Rollover Nights’ that allows members to roll over nights that they earn over the status to the following year.
  • Hotel brands: members earn and redeem points across Hilton’s 13 hotel brands: Waldorf Astoria, Conrad, Hilton, DoubleTree, Embassy Suites, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton Inn, Homewood Suites, Home2Suites, Hilton Grand Vacations, Canopy by Hilton, Tru by Hilton, and Curio Collection.


4. IHG REWARDS CLUB 

IHG hotels provide more than 744,000 guest rooms globally, serving over 150 million guests each year. IHG’s 14 brands range from the friendly comfort of a city-center Holiday Inn hotel to the luxury of an award-winning InterContinental resort. To advance in the IHG program, all you need to do is stay at hotels in the IHG portfolio, which includes several affordable venues. The loyalty program is split into four tiers, ranging from Club to Spirit Elite, and allows you to earn and redeem points. IHG recently acquired the ultra-exclusive Six Senses brand, although it remains to be seen whether Six Senses wil participate in IHG Rewards Club.

  • Official website: IHG Rewards Club
  • Review: read here my review of the program (with pros & cons).
  • The program’s best standout feature: every two to three months, for a limited time only, IHG Rewards Club releases a number of IHG PointBreaks properties where reward nights are yours for only 5,000 points for a stay in the following couple of months. From time to time, the list includes top properties, such as the Intercontinental Bora Bora. IHG Rewards Club PointBreaks is absolutely one the best hotel points redemptions in the industry!
  • Hotel brands: members earn points and exchange them for rewards at the following brands: InterContinental, Kimpton, Regent, Voco, Avid, Crown Plaza, Hotel Indigo, Hualuxe, Even Hotels, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Holiday Inn Resorts, Holiday Inn Club Vacations, Staybridge Suites, and Candlewood Suites.

IHG REWARDS CLUB


3. HOTELS.COM REWARDS

Hotels.com, which is owned by Expedia, has an excellent loyalty program, designated ‘Hotels.com Rewards’, and its simplicity may be its primary selling point. When you book and stay 10 nights at eligible hotels, you’ll get 1 night free to redeem at another (coming down to a 10% cash back in Hotels.com vouchers). 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. You will also enjoy additional benefits, such as priority customer service and hassle-free travel guarantee when you book and stay at 10 nights (Silver membership) or 30 nights (Gold membership) during one calendar year.

  • Official website: Hotels.com Rewards
  • Review: read here my review of the program (with pros & cons).
  • The program’s best standout feature: Hotels.com gives freedom in your hotel choices. Members of brand-specific hotel loyalty programs tend to stay at hotels of those brands in order to receive the extra perk associated with their elite status, but that way they often pay more and miss the opportunity to stay at the very best hotel in the area.
  • Hotel brands: the Hotels.com Rewards program covers all hotels worldwide, as long as you book your stays via Hotels.com.

HOTELS.COM REWARDS


2. WORLD OF HYATT

Hyatt is one of the best hotel brands in the world, and it owns the highly respected luxury hotel chains Park Hyatt and Andaz (which rank among my favorite hotel brands in the world). The World of Hyatt guest loyalty program is part of Hyatt’s ongoing commitment to making our guests feel more than welcome every time they stay. Members can enjoy exclusive benefits, such as earning five points per eligible dollar spent to redeem toward free nights with no blackout dates, room upgrades and airline miles. There are three elite tiers providing members with even more privileges.

  • Official website: World of Hyatt
  • Review: read here my review of the program (with pros & cons).
  • The program’s best standout feature: World of Hyatt’s highest tier members get a free night award in a category 1-7 Hyatt hotel and two suite upgrades. The latter can be used for stays up to 7 nights and don’t require you to book anything else than a qualifying rate.
  • Hotel brands: members earn Hyatt points and exchange them for rewards across Hyatt’s 12 hotel brands: Park Hyatt, Andaz, Grand Hyatt, Hyatt Hotels, Hyatt Regency, Hyatt Place, Hyatt House, Hyatt Zilara & Ziva, Hyatt Residence club, Hyatt Centric, and the Unbound Collection by Hyatt. Word of Hyatt members can also earn and redeem points at Small Luxury Hotels of the World and Thomspon Hotels, making this program even more attractive.


1. MARRIOTT BONVOY

In my humble opinion, Marriott Bonvoy, the reward program of the Marriott group, gives you the richest elite benefits in the hotel industry, including the opportunity to achieve Gold or Platinum status for life. Marriott Bonvoy is the new combined progrma for the loyalty programs that used to be known as Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards, and SPG. Marriott manages several luxurious hotel brands, including Ritz-Carlton, St Regis and JW Marriott in the “classic” luxury segment and Ritz-Carlton Reserve, The Luxury Collection, BVLGARI, W Hotels, and Edition in the “distinctive” luxury segment.

  • Official website: Marriott Bonvoy
  • Review: read here my review of the program (with pros & cons).
  • The program’s best standout feature: the single best value of Marriott Bonvoy points is to transfer them to an airline partner and book free award tickets or upgrades. The list of SPG’s airline partners is impressive and the 1 : 1 conversation rate of Starpoints into miles is unmachted. In addition, you receive a 5000 mileage bonus when you convert 20,000 Starpoints into miles.
  • Hotel brands: with the new program, members can earn points and exchange them for valuable rewards when they stay at one of Marriott’s 30 different hotel brands across 6800+ locations in more than 150 countries. You can access the full list of 30 brands here.

MARRIOTT BONVOY


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Travel news: this month (March 2019) in luxury travel

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

Today (March 29, 2019): March 2019 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. British Airways unveils its new (excellent) Business Class seat
  2. The world’s most exclusive hotel, North Island Seychelles, joins … Marriott
  3. Brussels Airlines introduces a new Business Class product
  4. The Four Seasons brand is coming to Nashville
  5. All Nippon Airways (ANA) takes delivery of its first A380 aircraft
  6. Rosewood opens its new flaghsip hotel in Hong Kong
  7. WOW Air ceases operations
  8. Six Senses Bhutan opens in the land of the thunder dragon
  9. New York’s iconic Chrysler Building could become a hotel
  10. Air France reveals new First Class amenity kit


1. British Airways unveils its new (excellent) Business Class seat

British Airways has unveiled its highly-anticipated new business class seat – ‘Club Suite’ – and confirmed it will arrive on the first of its A350 aircraft in July. The airline’s sophisticated and newly-branded ‘Club Suite’ offers direct-aisle access, a suite door for greater privacy, and luxurious flat-bed seats in a 1-2-1 configuration. Boasting 40 per cent more storage, every aspect of British Airways’ Club Suite has been designed for today’s customer, including a vanity unit and mirror, WiFi, enviable 18.5-inch inflight entertainment screens, high definition gate-to-gate programming, and PC / USB power. The airline, which is marking its centenary this year, will roll out the new suites in a carefully managed programme designed to minimise disruption to customers. During phase one, the first A350 aircraft will start some short-haul flying between London and Madrid to familiarise cabin crew with the aircraft layout. In phase two, from October 2019, the aircraft will begin long-haul flying. During this period another three A350 aircraft will join the British Airways fleet and two Boeing 777 aircraft will also be retrofitted with the new cabin. At the start of 2020 phase three will begin which will see British Airways rolling out its Club Suite on further long-haul aircraft across the network.


2. The world’s most exclusive hotel – North Island Seychelles – joins Marriott

This is not something that I am excited about, but North Island Seychelles – IMHO the world’s most exclusive private island resort – will join the prortfolio of The Luxury Collection, a brand managed by the Marriott Hotel Group. North Island boasts pristine white sand beaches that surround a tropical interior of coconut palms and indigenous takamaka trees, cradled between three granite outcrops overlooking the azure ocean. Featuring panoramic oceanfront views and a supreme sense of exclusivity, the 11 villas provide guests with plenty of room to fully unwind and enjoy the intimate, island style experience in a luxurious setting. Bruce Simpson, MD of North Island, said: “We are delighted to join the exclusive collection of properties under The Luxury Collection. North Island is the perfect fit for a brand that stands for such exclusive luxury, while recognising the importance of sustainable development, and we look forward to building on the position of the island as one of the world’s most aspirational private-island destinations”. Unfortunately, I don’t consider North Island to be a great fit for The Luxury Collection, since it offer a scale of luxury and exclusivity far above all other hotels in the The Luxury Collection, and seeing it become a Marriott property kind of affects its legendary status. I have previsouly stayed at North Island Seychelles and you can read my review here or watch my clip below.


3. Brussels Airlines introduces a new Business Class product

The new Business Class cabin onboard Brussels Airlines A330 aircraft brings a ’boutique hotel atmosphere’ with a classy Belgian design. Throughout the whole cabin design, Art Nouveau patterns reflect the premium Belgian hospitality and bring a sophisticated and relaxed atmosphere on board, consistent with what the airline offers its Business Class guests on the ground in their flagship lounge ‘The Loft’ at Brussels Airport. The carpet pattern is inspired by the vault design of historical Antwerp central station while famous Belgian designers like Dries Van Noten were an inspiration for the design of the seat fabric. Thanks to its small size of only 30 seats and its unique staggered configuration, the new Business Class offers great privacy in every seat. Guests can choose between a single and a double seat depending on whether they are travelling alone or with a companion. Completely adaptable to every guest’s need the new Business seat can be converted to a lounge sofa or a 2m long full flat bed with adjustable softness. This combined with the new lighting ambiance tailored to all flight phases, ensures a rejuvenating sleep for jet lag-free flying across time zones. Furthermore, the 15.6” HD screen can be tilted to adapt to all seating positions and includes high-quality noise-cancelling headphones.


4. The Four Seasons brand is coming to Nashville

Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, one of the world’s leading luxury hospitality companies, announced that it is coming to downtown Nashville (Tennessee, USA). Standing 542 feet tall (165 metrers), it will be one of the state’s greenest and tallest residential buildings and redefine the skyline in Nashville. Long recognised for its popular music and entertainment offerings, Nashville is also home to one of the most vibrant culinary and arts scenes in the United States. The new hotel and private residences will be located along the Cumberland River, within a block of fresh and exciting culinary and nightlife experiences on Broadway, West Riverfront Park, Nissan Stadium, and the award-winning Ascend Amphitheater. This prime location will make the project the ideal spot for visitors and residents to experience the best of Nashville. The luxury hotel will feature 236 keys, a world-class spa and an array of fitness amenities. In addition, the building will offer for sale luxury residences to be managed by Four Seasons. Construction on the building is expected to begin next month.


5. All Nippon Airways (ANA) takes delivery of first A380 aircraft

Japan’s All Nippon Airways (ANA) today took delivery of its initial A380, which will serve the popular Japan to Hawaii routing – and is appropriately painted in a special livery depicting the Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle, also known as the Honu. ANA becomes the world’s 15th operator – and Japan’s first – of this widebody passenger aircraft. It has ordered a total of three A380s. Powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines, the jetliner features ANA’s very latest in-flight entertainment systems, as well as full connectivity in all classes. It will enable the airline to almost double the capacity between Japan and the U.S. island state of Hawaii, generating value for the airline. “This marks a new milestone in our relationship with ANA – our longest-standing customer in Japan,” said Tom Enders, Airbus Chief Executive Officer. “We are confident the A380 will be a huge success in service with All Nippon Airways, and we remain committed to supporting the airline’s A380 operation – as we will for all operators of this magnificent aircraft.” Each of ANA’s A380s will feature the special livery depicting the Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle. The no. 1 aircraft is blue, the second will be green and the third orange. This elaborate paint scheme covers a surface of 3,600 square metres and took the Airbus team 21 days to paint, using 16 different shades of color.


6. Rosewood opens its new flaghsip hotel in Hong Kong

The Rosewood Hong Kong‘s skyscraper exterior pays contemporary homage to the city’s verticality, with 43 floors dedicated to the hotel and its residences. Standing on the site of the former Holt’s Wharf dating back to 1910, and later the iconic New World Centre – which gained prominence during Hong Kong’s manufacturing heyday of the 1970s and 80s – a revolutionary approach to spatial design creates a waterfront oasis. Showcasing expansive water and verdant Kowloon Peak views, eclectic luxury is central to the property’s generously appointed 322 accommodations and 18 signature suite, including the 1,000-square-metre (10,764-square-feet) Harbour House and The Garden House, which enjoy wraparound Victoria Harbour views from their private sky terraces on the 57th floor; complete with planted landscaped gardens, sun decks with private lap pools and a dedicated, state-of-the-art private gym. Rosewood Hong Konghas 8 dining concepts, each possessing a distinctive character and unique flavour, with the majority of venues featuring al fresco terraces and views overlooking the water. Rosewood Hong Kong also host the first urban outpost of Asaya, Rosewood’s signature integrative wellness offering.


7. WOW Air ceases operations

This week, Icelandic budget carrier WOW Air ceased operations and canceled all its flights, leaving passengers stranded on both sides of the Atlantic and in Iceland. The budget airline had been in rescue talks with several companies for a takeover – including Icelandair and Frontier Airlines’ owners Indigo Partners – but these ultimately failed, leaving WOW Air with no choice but to stop flying. The airline announced the closure in a statement posted to its website on Thursday. It advised passengers to book new flights on other airlines, with carriers including IcelandAir, EasyJet and Norwegian Air offering reduced fares to stranded travelers because of the difficult circumstances. WOW Air also said that passengers who bought tickets from a European travel agent as part of a packaged tour were protected. Others with travel insurance may also be entitled to claim compensation. Founded in 2011, WOW Air was known for ultra-cheap trans-Atlantic fares on routes via Iceland thanks to no-frills service. Unfortunately, it’s the latest in a string of airlines to suffer problems as the aviation industry is buffeted by fierce competition and shifting business models. Primera Air ceased operations in October 2018. In February, German airline Germania filed for bankruptcy and British airline Flybmi stopped flying.


8. Six Senses Bhutan opens in the land of the thunder dragon

Located in the colorful Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan, Six Senses Bhutan celebrates its highly-anticipated arrival with the opening of its first three lodges in Thimphu, Punakha and Paro. The lodges combine the brand’s commitment to wellness, sustainability and out-of-the-ordinary experiences with the country’s rich culture, warm hospitality and omni-present spirituality. Spread over the west and central valleys of this remote Himalayan kingdom, Six Senses Bhutan offers guests a unique adventure with uplifting experiences at every turn. From sunrise meditations and holistic spa treatments to private astrology readings and butter lamp lighting ceremonies to incredible hikes and treks through pristine forests, the aim is to leave enriched and reconnected. Each location has been thoughtfully designed to fully immerse travelers into the local culture. The lodges, which vary in style, showcase the diversity and special character of each valley. Offering sweeping views, the spacious interiors are framed by subtle references to Bhutanese architecture, seen in the simple lines of the natural timber furniture and the presence of locally-inspired touches, such as bukharis (traditional wood-burning stoves) and vegetable-dyed, antique-washed Himalayan rugs.


9. New York’s iconic Chrysler Building could become a hotel

According to Bloomberg, New York City’s landmark Chrysler Building, which is being bought for about a fifth of what it last sold for, could ultimately be transformed from an aging office tower into a hotel. Aby Rosen’s RFR Holding LLC and Austrian real estate firm Signa Holding GmbH last week agreed to purchase the 77-story skyscraper near Grand Central Terminal for $151 million USD, significantly below the $800 million USD the Abu Dhabi Investment Council paid in 2008 for a 90 percent stake, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. Rosen said in an email Tuesday that he would consider converting the tower into a hotel. The Chrysler Building, completed in 1930 in Art Deco style, would probably require millions of dollars in improvements, no matter what the new owners do with it. Keeping it as an office building would be a risky proposition at a time when New York tenants have been favoring new, amenity-packed skyscrapers at Hudson Yards on the far west side and the World Trade Center downtown. “It’s a magnificent building with uninterrupted views from the high floors but changing use is not without issues,” Lawrence Wolfe, co-head of the lodging capital markets group at Newmark Knight Frank. The large floor plates favored by office tenants can pose design challenges when converting to other uses, while the landmarked lobby could make it difficult to create a dedicated entrance for hotel guests.


10. Air France reveals new First Class amenity kit

Air France has introduced a brand new comfort kit exclusively available on board its La Première cabin. Available in a choice of two colours (“Iced Mocha” and “French grey”), this kit with an imitation leather finish and magnetic fastening sums up in three words the unique experience that Air France wishes to offer its La Première customers – exclusivity, refinement and personalization. Inside this “designer” kit, customers will find a range of facial and body care treatments from the prestigious cosmetics company Carita for their enhanced well-being on board:

  • A moisturizing and regenerating cream, ‘Baume de nuit’ (10ml);
  • An eye care product, ‘Combleur Fondamental’ (7ml) ;
  • A cream for the eyes and lips, ‘Soin sublimateur 3 Ors’ (7ml);
  • An original youthful hand serum, ‘Progressif Lift fermeté’ (10ml);

The kit also contains extra items for additional comfort, such as an exclusive offer for a hair care treatment with styling*, a comb, a night mask, earplugs, earphone covers and a pen with Air France’s emblem, the winged seahorse. Renewed every six months, the Air France La Première kit is designed as a true gift for customers to take home with them after the trip.


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The post Travel news: this month (March 2019) in luxury travel appeared first on the Luxury Travel Expert.

Review: Mandarin Oriental Prague Hotel (Czech Republic) 

Wednesday newsletters always feature a hotel or flight review.

Today (March , 2019): Review of Mandarin Oriental Prague Hotel (Czech Republic).

Built on the site of a former 14th century monastery, Mandarin Oriental Prague is both a five-star luxury hotel and a wonderfully preserved piece of history. Enjoying a peaceful location on a quiet cobbled street of picturesque Malá Strana on the left bank of the Vltava River, the hotel is a serene retreat infused with centuries of character and a style that blends contemporary design with period features. With 79 elegant rooms, 20 individually decorated suites, excellent dining and a luxurious spa (the only spa in the world located in a former Renaissance chapel!), the hotel marries the legendary hospitality of Mandarin Oriental with the inimitable charm that has made Prague one of Europe’s foremost travel destinations.

Mandarin Oriental Prague also features in my top 10 lists of the best hotels in Prague, the most amazing city hotels in Europe and the world’s best historic hotels.

Have you ever stayed at Mandarin Oriental Prague? If so, what was your experience? Leave a comment.

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

Click to view slideshow.

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PROS & THINGS I LIKE
  • Mandarin Oriental Prague is superbly located in a charming, quiet neighborhood of Prague’s oldest district, Lesser Quarter (Mala Strana). Picturesque alleys, historic palaces and hidden gardens make the area around the hotel the city’s most entrancing district. Here, you can meander through cobblestoned streets, marvel at romantic scenery, and stroll through galleries. The property is perfect for exploring the best of Prague since it’s within a short walking distance from all major tourist attractions, including the iconic 650-year-old Charles Bridge (5 min walk), the immensely popular Old Town Square (15 min walk) and the magnificent Prague Castle (15 min uphill walk). The Vltava  river and lovely Kampa Park (with the Kampa Museum of abstract art) are both right around the corner.
  • The hotel occupies a complex whose origins dates back to the 14th century. Part-Renaissance, part-Baroque and part-modern, the hotel’s distinctive set of buildings comprise eight centuries’ worth of architecture. Formerly a Dominican monastery, the structure incorporates a large part of the outer wall of St Mary Magdalene, one of the oldest churches in Prague that was built on the site around 1330. The hotel’s interiors pay homage to the monastery’s heritage, with original monk cells, Renaissance-era kitchens, a Baroque refectory and a cloister corridor with vaulted ceilings resting atop Baroque columns. The property’s most striking archeological feature is the remnant of a Gothic church, which is preserved under a glass floor in the spa, showcasing the hotel’s strong ties to Czech history and culture.
  • Exuding a unique character and soothing charm, the beautiful hotel decor is a combination of historical ambience and contemporary design, sensitively complemented with the subtly opulent oriental touches for which the Mandarin Oriental brand is famous for. The hotel’s designers – Dům a Město Architects and British design studio Black Sheep – carefully preserved architectural features such as vaulted ceilings, archways and original staircases, creating a historically inspired backdrop for the hotel’s luxurious offerings. It all marries well with the more modern parts of the hotel, such as the understated lobby area – with a marble reception desk and white floral displays – and the adjoining food and beverage outlets – where you find vibrant modern artworks and sleek designer furnishings.
  • Each of the 99 rooms and suites has been individually furnished and decorated to embrace the best of the destination whilst adding a touch of Asian flair. All rooms are spacious and exquisitely furnished, with high ceilings, often either vaulted or arched. During my stay, I was upgraded to a Deluxe Suite (6 categories above the room type I had originally booked!). With large windows and parquet floors, this suite featured a large sofa, Prague-inspired art works, and a Moser crystal chandelier in the living room. The separate bedroom came with two twin beds (as requested). The oversized bathroom was clad in polished limestone and featured heated floors, a walk-in shower, a bathtub and luxury bath products by Atelier Cologne.
  • The hotel prides itself on five unique signature suites. The Moser Crystal Suite is distinctive for its crystal accessories and stunning decorations by Moser, the Czech Republic’s premier crystal manufacturer. The Oriental Suite is located at the top of a former Renaissance chapel and its curved walls and slightly mysterious atmosphere make it perfect for romantic escapes. Fit for rock stars or royalty, the Lazar Suite combines two luxury suites connected with an intimate foyer. The luxurious Lobkowicz Suite features an exclusive selection of lithograph facsimiles from The Lobkowicz collections,  the largest private collection in the Czech Republic. Last, the Presidential Penthouse Suite features a large private roof terrace with stunning views of Prague Castle.
  • The award-winning holistic spa at Mandarin Oriental Prague is located inside a former Renaissance chapel and linked to the hotel by an underground passageway, allowing you to retreat to your room in complete privacy. The spa’s vast light-filled reception featues a glass floor displaying the remains of a 14th century Gothic church uncovered during the hotel’s reconstruction. Offering seven treatment rooms – including two for couples featuring private heat and water-based treatment facilities and a vitality pool – the spa offers holistic treatments from around the world whilst incorporating the historic spa culture of Central Europe. The hotel also offers a fully equipped gym with two saunas.
  • In keeping with Mandarin Oriental’s innovative approach to food, the hotel offers stylish dining with culinary flair. Departing from the heavy Czech food (think dumplings and schnitzel) largely on offer elsewhere in the city, the hotel’s only restaurant, Spices Restaurant and Bar, serves an eclectic mix of sophisticated Asian food, based around three styles of cooking – Sri Lankan, Thai and Indian. The menu features fragrant dishes like beef randang with coconut, turmeric, lemongrass and rice, or steamed halibut fillet with ginger, garlic and coriander. Distributed across five Renaissance vaulted rooms, Spices is located next to the lobby and also has a stunning cellar, available for private events such as wine tastings, small cocktail parties or private dinners.
  • Each morning, Spices is also the scene of an excellent, beautifully displayed breakfast buffet. Cereals, fresh fruits, home-baked pastries, fine cheeses, cold meats and several hot dishes (scrambled eggs, hash browns, bacon and chicken sausages) are offered. There’s also a separate menu for ordering eggs and pancakes (included in the room rate).
  • The property is managed by the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group. Over the past 50 years, Mandarin Oriental has grown from a well-respected Asian hotel company into one of the world’s most exclusive hotel brands, and has a rich and proud history which began with the opening of the brand’s flagship property, The Mandarin, in 1963 in Hong Kong. In 1974, The Oriental in Bangkok, which was already acknowledged as one of the world’s most legendary hotels was partially acquired by the group, making the company unique in the way that it has two flagship hotels whose names represented the very best in hospitality. Today, the group operates more than 30 hotels worldwide, with each property featuring a distinctive oriental design (reflecting its heritage) and a unique sense of place.

CONS & THINGS TO KNOW

Since its opening in 2006, the Mandarin Oriental Prague has been the most exclusive and talked about 5-star hotel in the Czech Republic’s capital (with the Four Seasons Prague being its only real competitor). There’s little to say against the exclusive property but you need to know the following before considering a stay here:

  • The hotel is built on the site of a former 14th century monastery, and this wonderfully preserved piece of history had to be respected throughout the renovation. Consequently, there’s a lot of variation in the space and design of the guest rooms and suites. Due to the historic charm of the property, some rooms don’t have a view and the lowest category rooms are a bit on the small side and don’t get a lot of natural light.
  • Leisure facilities at the hotel are limited. There’s no pool, the lobby is rather small (with no real lounge areas), and the spa – while excellent – is more of a wellness center, where you can only come upon appointment (since it only features treatment rooms). That said, the luxurious hotel offers the perfect vibe for a city or business trip, and I highly recommend it when you visit Prague.

MY VERDICT
  • Location: 9/10
  • Design: 9/10
  • Pool: the property has no pool
  • Rooms: 9/10
  • Food: 9/10
  • Breakfast: 9/10
  • Spa: 9/10
  • Service: 9/10
  • Value for money: 9/10
  • Overall experience: exceptional 9/10

TIPS FOR FUTURE GUESTS & SAVE MONEY
  • Save money: read here my tips for getting the best deal at a luxury hotel like Mandarin Oriental Prague (and/or receive many free perks).
  • Save money: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, fruit basket and home-made chocolate pralines in room on arrival, and $100 USD hotel credit).
  • Room tip: request or book a room facing into the hotel’s inner courtyard and garden, as the Mandarin Oriental’s central location implies a road with some (not a lot) local traffic. First floor rooms facing this patio also feature a large terrace, which – whether permitting – is great place to have a glass of wine
  • Read my tips for preparing your trip in time.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

In general, your best chance of nice weather in Prague is in late spring and early fall, i.e. in the second half of May and the months of June and September. The weather is often quite pleasant then, with temperatures in the 20s°C/70s°F, sunny or partly sunny skies, and mild evenings. If you like it hot, you should visit in July and August, Prague’s warmest and statistically driest months. You may also want to consider the daylight hours, which are long in late spring and summer (it stays light till 9 p.m. in May, 10 p.m. in July) and shorter in the fall (8 p.m. in September). Prague’s low season is during the cold months of November, January, February, and into March, so if you don’t mind the cold and prefer fewer tourists, this would be a good time for you to travel to Prague. Prague also has a special magic during Christmas time and when covered with snow (although Christmas and snow rarely come together these days).


HOW TO GET THERE

Mandarin Oriental Prague is a 20 min drive from Vaclav Havel Airport Prague. Click here for a continuously updated list of airlines that offer direct flights to Prague.


PHOTOS
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MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - SPICES RESTAURANT
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – SPICES RESTAURANT
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - SPICES RESTAURANT
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – SPICES RESTAURANT
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - SPICES RESTAURANT
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – SPICES RESTAURANT
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - SPICES RESTAURANT
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – SPICES RESTAURANT
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - SPICES RESTAURANT
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – SPICES RESTAURANT
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - SPICES RESTAURANT
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – SPICES RESTAURANT
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - SPICES RESTAURANT
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – SPICES RESTAURANT
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - SPICES RESTAURANT
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – SPICES RESTAURANT
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - SPICES RESTAURANT
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – SPICES RESTAURANT
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - SPICES RESTAURANT (WINE CELLAR)
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – SPICES RESTAURANT (WINE CELLAR)
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - SPICES RESTAURANT (WINE CELLAR)
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – SPICES RESTAURANT (WINE CELLAR)
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - SPICES RESTAURANT (WINE CELLAR)
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – SPICES RESTAURANT (WINE CELLAR)
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - SPICES RESTAURANT (WINE CELLAR)
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – SPICES RESTAURANT (WINE CELLAR)
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - SPICES RESTAURANT (WINE CELLAR)
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – SPICES RESTAURANT (WINE CELLAR)
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - INNER COURTYARD
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – INNER COURTYARD
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - INNER COURTYARD
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – INNER COURTYARD
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - INNER COURTYARD
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – INNER COURTYARD
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - ELEVATORS TO GUEST ROOM FLOORS
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – ELEVATORS TO GUEST ROOM FLOORS
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - GUEST ROOM FLOOR
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – GUEST ROOM FLOOR
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - GUEST ROOM FLOOR
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – GUEST ROOM FLOOR
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - GUEST ROOM FLOOR
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – GUEST ROOM FLOOR
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - GUEST ROOM FLOOR
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – GUEST ROOM FLOOR
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - GUEST ROOM FLOOR
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – GUEST ROOM FLOOR
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - GUEST ROOM FLOOR
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – GUEST ROOM FLOOR
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - DELUXE SUITE
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – DELUXE SUITE
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - DELUXE SUITE
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – DELUXE SUITE
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - DELUXE SUITE
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – DELUXE SUITE
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - DELUXE SUITE
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – DELUXE SUITE
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - DELUXE SUITE
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – DELUXE SUITE
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - DELUXE SUITE (WELCOME AMENITIES)
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – DELUXE SUITE (WELCOME AMENITIES)
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - DELUXE SUITE (WELCOME AMENITIES)
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – DELUXE SUITE (WELCOME AMENITIES)
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - DELUXE SUITE (WELCOME AMENITIES)
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – DELUXE SUITE (WELCOME AMENITIES)
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - DELUXE SUITE (WELCOME AMENITIES)
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – DELUXE SUITE (WELCOME AMENITIES)
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - DELUXE SUITE
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – DELUXE SUITE
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - DELUXE SUITE
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – DELUXE SUITE
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - DELUXE SUITE
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – DELUXE SUITE
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - DELUXE SUITE
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – DELUXE SUITE
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - DELUXE SUITE
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – DELUXE SUITE
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - DELUXE SUITE
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – DELUXE SUITE
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - DELUXE SUITE
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – DELUXE SUITE
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - DELUXE SUITE
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – DELUXE SUITE
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - DELUXE SUITE
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – DELUXE SUITE
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - DELUXE SUITE
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – DELUXE SUITE
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - DELUXE SUITE
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – DELUXE SUITE
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - ENTRANCE TO GYM
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – ENTRANCE TO GYM
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - GYM
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – GYM
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - GYM
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – GYM
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - TUNNEL TO SPA
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – TUNNEL TO SPA
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - ENTRANCE TO SPA
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – ENTRANCE TO SPA
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - SPA
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – SPA
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - SPA
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – SPA
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - SPA
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – SPA
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - SPA
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – SPA
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - SPA
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – SPA
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - SPA
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – SPA
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - SPA
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – SPA
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - SPA
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – SPA
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - SPA
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – SPA
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - SPA
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – SPA
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE AT NIGHT
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE AT NIGHT
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE AT NIGHT
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE AT NIGHT
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE AT NIGHT
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE AT NIGHT
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE AT NIGHT
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE AT NIGHT
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - DINNER AT SPICES
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – DINNER AT SPICES
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - DINNER AT SPICES
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – DINNER AT SPICES
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - DINNER AT SPICES
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – DINNER AT SPICES
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - DINNER AT SPICES
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – DINNER AT SPICES
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - DINNER AT SPICES
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – DINNER AT SPICES
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - DINNER AT SPICES
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – DINNER AT SPICES
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - DINNER AT SPICES
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – DINNER AT SPICES
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - DINNER AT SPICES
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – DINNER AT SPICES
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - DINNER AT SPICES
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – DINNER AT SPICES
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - DINNER AT SPICES
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – DINNER AT SPICES
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - DINNER AT SPICES
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – DINNER AT SPICES
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - DINNER AT SPICES
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – DINNER AT SPICES
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - DINNER AT SPICES
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – DINNER AT SPICES
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - DINNER AT SPICES
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – DINNER AT SPICES
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - BREAKFAST AT SPICES
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – BREAKFAST AT SPICES
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - BREAKFAST AT SPICES
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – BREAKFAST AT SPICES
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - BREAKFAST AT SPICES
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – BREAKFAST AT SPICES
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - BREAKFAST AT SPICES
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – BREAKFAST AT SPICES
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - BREAKFAST AT SPICES
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – BREAKFAST AT SPICES
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - BREAKFAST AT SPICES
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – BREAKFAST AT SPICES
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - BREAKFAST AT SPICES
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – BREAKFAST AT SPICES
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - BREAKFAST AT SPICES
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – BREAKFAST AT SPICES
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - BREAKFAST AT SPICES
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – BREAKFAST AT SPICES
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - BREAKFAST AT SPICES
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – BREAKFAST AT SPICES
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - BREAKFAST AT SPICES
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – BREAKFAST AT SPICES
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - BREAKFAST AT SPICES
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – BREAKFAST AT SPICES
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - BREAKFAST AT SPICES
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – BREAKFAST AT SPICES
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - BREAKFAST AT SPICES
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – BREAKFAST AT SPICES
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - BREAKFAST AT SPICES
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – BREAKFAST AT SPICES
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - BREAKFAST AT SPICES
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – BREAKFAST AT SPICES
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - BREAKFAST AT SPICES
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – BREAKFAST AT SPICES
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - BREAKFAST AT SPICES
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – BREAKFAST AT SPICES
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - BREAKFAST AT SPICES
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – BREAKFAST AT SPICES
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - BREAKFAST AT SPICES
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – BREAKFAST AT SPICES
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE - BREAKFAST AT SPICES
MANDARIN ORIENTAL PRAGUE – BREAKFAST AT SPICES
PRAGUE - IMPRESSIONS
PRAGUE – IMPRESSIONS
PRAGUE - IMPRESSIONS
PRAGUE – IMPRESSIONS
PRAGUE - IMPRESSIONS
PRAGUE – IMPRESSIONS
PRAGUE - IMPRESSIONS
PRAGUE – IMPRESSIONS
PRAGUE - IMPRESSIONS
PRAGUE – IMPRESSIONS
PRAGUE - IMPRESSIONS
PRAGUE – IMPRESSIONS