Review: Four Seasons Resort Seychelles

FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES

Wednesday newsletters always feature a hotel 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:


Today (24 April 2019): Review of Four Seasons Resort Seychelles.

Carved into a hillside on the remote Indian Ocean island of Mahé, Four Seasons Resort Seychelles seeks not to impose itself on the landscape so much as bend to its will. The property’s 67 fabulous resort villas and 27 private residences are either perched on stilts on the jungle hillside or nestled amid greenery close to the beach. All villas have large infinity-edge plunge pools surrounded by a natural hardwood deck. In an island nation blessed with the best beaches in the world, it should come as not surprise that the Four Seasons Resort is located along a magnificent stretch of soft white sand. As well as indulging in water sports, there’s also a lovely beach-front swimming pool to relax by with poolside dining and refreshments readily available. The spa is a treat for all, located at the top of the hill and overlooking spectacular Petite Anse, with both adults and children welcome.

Four Seasons Resort Seychelles features in my top 10 lists of my favorite Four Season Hotels & Resorts in the world, the world’s best resorts with private plunge pools, the world’s best family hotels, the best resorts in the Seychelles, and my favorite luxury hotels in the world.

Have you ever stayed at Four Seasons Resort Seychelles ? 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.

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


PROS & THINGS I LIKE
  • Four Seasons Resort Seychelles enjoys a splendidly isolated location on the southwest coast of Mahé, the granite-filled main island of the Seychelles known for its white powder beaches and dramatic rock formations. With over 60 sensational beaches and coves fringing the island’s coastline, lush mountainous scenery and small towns with a unique Creole culture, there is much to explore. Mahé is also home to the Seychelles’ international airport and the resort is a convenient 25 minute drive from the airport, which is definitely an advantage compared to hotels on other islands which can only be reached by ferry or flight (something you may not be looking forward to after your longhaul flight to the Seychelles).
  • The ultraluxe resort occupies a 170-acre site of breathtaking natural beauty in the magnificent, horseshoe-shaped bay of Petite Anse. Most of the hotel’s villas and public pavilions tumble down the steep jungle-clad hillside and giant granite cliffs towards the bay’s fabulous white sand beach and crystalline waters. If ever there was a place made for photo opportunities and Instagram addicts, Four Seasons Resort Seychelles is it. Great care has been taken to ensure that the property harmonises with its spectacular surroundings rather than dominating the site. It is no exaggeration to call the Four Seasons Resort Seychelles paradise on earth, combining intelligent luxury with seclusion.
  • The resort’s timeless design draws its inspiration from graceful tree house architecture and local French Creole style. A vibe of rustic chic will first strike you upon arrival at the resort’s intimate, hillside open-air lobby, whose hand-planed wood floors, woven ceilings, and local furnishings blissfully merge with the sweeping ocean vistas. This ambiance continues throughout the resort’s indoor and outdoor pavilions, with extensive use of native woods, stone, plants, flowers, and palms. The resort decor’s color palette is subtly influenced by the teal blue ocean, indigenous cinnamon tree leaves and copious bamboo groves, providing a sense of place and enhancing the indoor-outdoor aesthetic pervasive throughout this spectacular property.
  • All 67 elegant villas are set in the natural amphitheatre of Petite Anse, either clinging to the steep hillside or nestled in the jungle close to the beach. During my visit, I was upgraded to a phenomenal hilltop ocean-view villa, whose decor featured a a mix of rustic Seychellois style and contemporary elegance, with simple, white-washed timber slat walls allowing a carefully curated collection of objets d’art to sing. The large bedroom featured a king-size bed enclosed by mosquito netting, a sitting area, a writing desk, and a coffee table. The en-suite bathroom was fitted with a toilet, two washbasins, a bidet and a massive sunk bath made of dark stone and enclosed by glass on two sides. The outdoors included a verandah, day bed pavilion, and wraparound infinity plunge pool surrounded by a natural hardwood deck, all setting off unencumbered views of the bay from a perch high above the island’s Jurrasic granite landscape.
  • In this lush castaway sanctuary, days promise barefoot ease as you stroll along the resort’s pristine curve of white sand, flanked by two giant granite cliffs and offering mesmerizing views of Mahe island’s verdant peaks. Given the protective curve of the bay and the gentle incline of the underground, swimming is safe all year round. The resort operates a beach club at the oceanfront, offering comfortable loungers and daybeds in addition to a full spectrum of water sports, including surfing, stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, windsurfing, boogie boarding, and sailing. To top it all, the beach offers romantic sunset views, with the sun setting perfectly between the bay’s two headlands at certain times of the year.
  • A few steps from the beach – behind the treeline – you find the resort’s massive shared pool. The rectangular pool itself is quite shallow (with a maximum depth of 1,3 m or 4 ft) and lined by sun loungers and umbrellas (although most guests prefer to lounge at the nearby beach club). The pool is surrounded by the resort’s public leisure facilities, including the casual Kannel restaurant & bar, a boutique shop, a marine educational centre by a non-profit organization WiseOceans, and the kid’s club. The lawn around the pool is also home to the resort’s five giant resident tortoises, who spend their days basking in the sun, cooling off in the mud and roaming freely around their beachside pen.
  • High above the bay, the impressive hilltop spa epitomizes the resort’s sense of tranquility and seclusion. There are seven treatment pavilions, and each room comes with one or two massage couches, a ceiling fan, a separate, partially open area with a big outdoor shower and a large stone bath, a little changing area and toilets. You can also indulge in a treatment at the beachside spa cabana, where the sea breeze and sound of the ocean will aid relaxation. As the highest point in the resort, the rooftop of the hilltop spa offers the perfect platform from which to view the sunset. Here, you can pull up a chair or stand on what feels like the edge of the world, taking in the whole of Petite Anse bay from this magnificent vantage point.
  • Four Seasons Resort Seychelles offers fine dining and inventive cocktails at two restaurants and two lounges, set hillside and beachside:
    • ZEZ restaurant is located on the hillside, boasting spectacular ocean and sunset views. The restaurant’s open-air design takes full advantage of Seychelles’ warm, sunny weather. Each morning, a hearty breakfast buffet is offered at ZEZ, comprising specialties from around the world, displayed in the open kitchen and in a separate cooled room; an à la carte menu is also available. For dinner, ZEZ offers contemporary Pan-Asian delights.
    • Infused with warm and refined elegance, the sophisticated  ZEZ Lounge is located next to the restaurant of the same name, and represent a perfect spot to enjoy sushi and sashimi, pre-dinner cocktails or after-dinner drinks. ZEZ Lounge maintains a wide selection of wines and cigars. Sheesha, a traditional Middle Eastern water pipe, is also available.
    • Stylish yet informal, Kannel restaurant enjoys a beach-side location, with nice views of the main pool area. Kannel serves Creole and international fare, featuring a variety of fresh fish and seafood. Some nights, sumptuous themed buffets are offered at Kannel, accompanied by live music.
    • Located next to the pool and close to the beach, the casual indoor-outdoor setting of Kannel Bar makes it the perfect spot to relax and enjoy light snacks, lunch and refreshing fruit drinks and cocktails throughout the day.
  • The property is managed by Four Seasons, probably the best known luxury hotel brand in the world. The Canadian-based company has, for nearly 50 years, transformed the hospitality industry in a tale of continual innovation, remarkable expansion and a single-minded dedication to the highest of standards. Four Seasons was founded in 1960 by the young architect Isadore Sharp, but the real breakthrough of the brand came in the seventies with the opening of the Four Seasons London. Although the company went public in 1986, the Sharp family – along with a group of like-minded investors such as Bill Gates and Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal – took the company private again in 2007 to protect the integrity of the brand well into the future.
  • The resort provides exceptional service, as you would expect from the Four Seasons brand. As good as the facilities are, in the end, it is the unmatched service that really has this hotel standing head and shoulders above most of its competitors on Mahe island. From the second I stepped foot onto the property, I was treated like royalty, thanks to the incredibly hospitality and the welcoming, professional attitude of the hotel staff. Senior managers frequently checked throughout my stay whether everything was ok and whether there was anything I needed. Miraculously, everyone at the resort seems to know your name and what you want before you even know it yourself.
  • Four Seasons manages not one but two properties in the Seychelles: Four Seasons Resort Seychelles (reviewed here) and Four Seasons Resort Seychelles at Desroches Island. In contrast to the granitic island of Mahe (which is home to Four Seasons Resort Seyechelles), the flat, coral island of Desroches lies 230 kilometres (143 miles) southwest in the Outer Amirantes – islands known for their wild beauty and freedom to explore some of the best diving and fishing in the world. Being one hour by plane from the main island Mahe, Four Seasons Resort Seychelles at Desroches Island enjoys unrivalled privacy and absolute freedom. The property is one of the most intimate Four Seasons resorts with just 71 accommodations, including pavilions, villas, suites and residences – all with private pool and beach access.

CONS & THINGS TO KNOW

Four Seasons Resort Seychelles is one of the most exclusive hotels in the Seychelles and ranks among my favorite Four Season Hotels & Resorts in the world. The breathtaking bay, pristine beach, stunning villas, and world-class facilities make it one of the world’s ultimate beach getaways. There’s very little to say against the resort, but you need to know the following nonetheless:

  • The resort’s bay and beach are public (as are all beaches in the Seychelles). However, it’s not evident to access the beach when you don’t stay at the hotel, as it involves registration at the hotel’s entrance gate and a 15 minute walk. Consequently, only few non-guests make it to the beach, giving the resort the most private beach experience on Mahe island. Unfortunately, since non-guests cannot make use of the resort’s sun loungers, some may lay their towels in front of guest chairs which can be annoying.
  • The resort grounds can be a challenge to navigate due to the steep incline of the hills and the expansive terrain, but the resort offers efficient 24/7 buggy service. They normally arrived swiftly, but around dinner time, or at any other time when a lot of guests are moving around, you may have to wait a while for one to pick you up or drop you off. That wasn’t an issue at all for me, but some travelers might find this a bit inconvenient.
  • The rooms at the Four Seasons Seychelles differ in location, view and size – and this split explains the different prices and experiences. For example, the garden-view villas are tucked away in the jungle and do not enjoy a lot of sunlight during the day. The higher located villas are more expensive, but offers stunning views and enjoy lots of sunshine; some even have a full view of the sunset. I would recommend to spend some extra money on a better located room (book at least an ocean view villa).
  • The Four Seasons Seychelles offers airport transfers in a luxury car for the price of 200 euro one way and 300 euros return (excluding tax). However, after having emailed them, I found out they could also arrange a taxi for 70 euros one way. I understand some may prefer a 200 euro transfer in a BMW, but I would have preferred if the resort also mentioned the option of the 70 euro taxi transfer in the welcome letter/email (otherwise, you may not beware of this option, unless you explicitly ask for it).
  • Food at the resort is expensive (as expected and on pair with other luxury hotels in the Seychelles), and although it’s great, I would not describe it as mindblowing (although it is by far the best food I had in the Seychelles). A three course diner costs about 75-100 euros per person (excluding wine).
  • As mentioned above, the resort’s beach is a stunning crescent of powder white sand, lapped by the turquoise sea and backed by lush vegetation. A lot of wildlife is present in the sea. Just by strolling with my feet in the ocean, I encountered a giant manta as well as a barracuda. But … the resort’s villas are clearly visible everywhere on the hills, so you will not have the feeling of being on a deserted, wild location. IMHO, the Banyan Tree hotel, which is located 30 minutes to the south, has – from an aesthetical point of view – one of the most stunning beaches in the Seychelles, although the ocean here is very rough and not swimmable most days (while the ocean at the Four Seasons is calm and perfect for swimming). The Banyan Tree villas are hidden in the jungle and less visible (although they are not as impressive as the villas at the Four Seasons).
  • During my visit, there were many families with young children staying at the resort, much more than I would normally expect in a property of this nature. It was not really troublesome, but I think honeymooners should be forewarned that the resort may not be as peaceful as one might expect since there’s no kids free area (except for your own villa). On the other hand, families will love the Four Seasons Seychelles with all the facilities made available to them and their children.
  • I booked my stay via Virtuoso, which entitled me to a $100 USD resort credit (in addition to daily breakfast, flexible check-in and -out times, and an upgrade). At check-out, the resort credit was not deducted from the total amount I paid, but I only noticed that upon my return back home. After I emailed the hotel, the credit was promptly refunded, but a hotel that doesn’t get the invoice right always makes a bad impression (always carefully check the invoice at check out!).

MY VERDICT
  • Location: 10/10
  • Design: 10/10
  • Pool: 9/10
  • Villas: 10/10
  • Food: 8/10
  • Breakfast: 8/10
  • 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 Four Seasons Seychelles (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, and $100 USD food & beverage credit).
  • Room tip: I recommend to book an ocean view villa and request a high location upon the hill with sunset view (otherwise you may end up in a garden view room, which lacks sunshine during the day and has no view to speak of).
  • Read my tips for preparing your trip in time.

REVIEWS OF OTHER LUXURY HOTELS IN THE SEYCHELLES

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.


HOW TO GET THERE

The resort  is located a 40-minute drive from Seychelles International Airport (SEZ). Click here for a continuously updated list of airlines that offer direct flights to the Seychelles.


PHOTOS
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: RESORT OVERVIEW
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: RESORT OVERVIEW
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: RESORT OVERVIEW
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: RESORT OVERVIEW
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: RESORT OVERVIEW
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: RESORT OVERVIEW
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: RESORT OVERVIEW
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: RESORT OVERVIEW
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: RESORT OVERVIEW
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: RESORT OVERVIEW
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: RESORT OVERVIEW
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: RESORT OVERVIEW
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: RESORT OVERVIEW
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: RESORT OVERVIEW
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: RESORT OVERVIEW
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: RESORT OVERVIEW
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: RESORT OVERVIEW
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: RESORT OVERVIEW
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: RESORT OVERVIEW
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: RESORT OVERVIEW
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: LOBBY
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: LOBBY
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: LOBBY
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: LOBBY
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: LOBBY
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: LOBBY
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: LOBBY
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: LOBBY
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FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: LOBBY
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FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: LOBBY
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: LOBBY
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FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: LOBBY
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: LOBBY
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: LOBBY (VIEW)
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: LOBBY (VIEW)
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: LOBBY (VIEW)
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: LOBBY (VIEW)
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: OCEAN VIEW VILLA - ENTRANCE
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: OCEAN VIEW VILLA – ENTRANCE
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: OCEAN VIEW VILLA - ENTRANCE
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: OCEAN VIEW VILLA – ENTRANCE
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: OCEAN VIEW VILLA - BEDROOM
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: OCEAN VIEW VILLA – BEDROOM
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: OCEAN VIEW VILLA - BEDROOM
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: OCEAN VIEW VILLA – BEDROOM
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: OCEAN VIEW VILLA - BEDROOM
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: OCEAN VIEW VILLA – BEDROOM
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: OCEAN VIEW VILLA - BEDROOM
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: OCEAN VIEW VILLA – BEDROOM
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: OCEAN VIEW VILLA - BEDROOM
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: OCEAN VIEW VILLA – BEDROOM
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: OCEAN VIEW VILLA - BEDROOM
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: OCEAN VIEW VILLA – BEDROOM
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: OCEAN VIEW VILLA - BEDROOM
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: OCEAN VIEW VILLA – BEDROOM
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: OCEAN VIEW VILLA - BEDROOM
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: OCEAN VIEW VILLA – BEDROOM
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: OCEAN VIEW VILLA - BEDROOM
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: OCEAN VIEW VILLA – BEDROOM
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: OCEAN VIEW VILLA - BEDROOM
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: OCEAN VIEW VILLA – BEDROOM
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: OCEAN VIEW VILLA - BEDROOM
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: OCEAN VIEW VILLA – BEDROOM
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: OCEAN VIEW VILLA - BATHROOM
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: OCEAN VIEW VILLA – BATHROOM
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: OCEAN VIEW VILLA - BATHROOM
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: OCEAN VIEW VILLA – BATHROOM
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: OCEAN VIEW VILLA - BATHROOM
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: OCEAN VIEW VILLA – BATHROOM
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: OCEAN VIEW VILLA - BATHROOM
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: OCEAN VIEW VILLA – BATHROOM
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: OCEAN VIEW VILLA - BATHROOM
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: OCEAN VIEW VILLA – BATHROOM
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: OCEAN VIEW VILLA - BATHROOM
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: OCEAN VIEW VILLA – BATHROOM
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: OCEAN VIEW VILLA - BATHROOM
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: OCEAN VIEW VILLA – BATHROOM
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: OCEAN VIEW VILLA - BATHROOM
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: OCEAN VIEW VILLA – BATHROOM
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: OCEAN VIEW VILLA - BATHROOM
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: OCEAN VIEW VILLA – BATHROOM
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: OCEAN VIEW VILLA - BATHROOM
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: OCEAN VIEW VILLA – BATHROOM
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: OCEAN VIEW VILLA - PRIVATE POOL
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: OCEAN VIEW VILLA – PRIVATE POOL
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: OCEAN VIEW VILLA - PRIVATE POOL
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: OCEAN VIEW VILLA – PRIVATE POOL
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: OCEAN VIEW VILLA - PRIVATE POOL
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: OCEAN VIEW VILLA – PRIVATE POOL
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: OCEAN VIEW VILLA - PRIVATE POOL
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: OCEAN VIEW VILLA – PRIVATE POOL
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: OCEAN VIEW VILLA - TERRACE
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: OCEAN VIEW VILLA – TERRACE
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: OCEAN VIEW VILLA - TERRACE
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: OCEAN VIEW VILLA – TERRACE
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: OCEAN VIEW VILLA - TERRACE
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: OCEAN VIEW VILLA – TERRACE
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: OCEAN VIEW VILLA - TERRACE
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: OCEAN VIEW VILLA – TERRACE
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: OCEAN VIEW VILLA - TERRACE (VIEW)
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: OCEAN VIEW VILLA – TERRACE (VIEW)
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: RESORT GROUNDS
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: RESORT GROUNDS
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: RESORT GROUNDS
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: RESORT GROUNDS
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: ENTRANCE TO POOL AREA
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: ENTRANCE TO POOL AREA
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: ENTRANCE TO POOL AREA
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: ENTRANCE TO POOL AREA
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: SWIMMING POOL
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: SWIMMING POOL
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: SWIMMING POOL
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: SWIMMING POOL
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: SWIMMING POOL
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: SWIMMING POOL
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: SWIMMING POOL
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: SWIMMING POOL
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: SWIMMING POOL
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: SWIMMING POOL
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: SWIMMING POOL
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: SWIMMING POOL
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: SWIMMING POOL
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: SWIMMING POOL
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: SWIMMING POOL
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: SWIMMING POOL
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: SWIMMING POOL
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: SWIMMING POOL
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: SWIMMING POOL
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: SWIMMING POOL
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: SWIMMING POOL
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: SWIMMING POOL
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: SWIMMING POOL
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: SWIMMING POOL
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: KANNEL BAR
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: KANNEL BAR
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: KANNEL BAR
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: KANNEL BAR
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: KANNEL BAR
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: KANNEL BAR
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: KANNEL BAR
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: KANNEL BAR
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: KANNEL RESTAURANT
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: KANNEL RESTAURANT
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: KANNEL RESTAURANT
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: KANNEL RESTAURANT
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: KANNEL RESTAURANT
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: KANNEL RESTAURANT
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: KIDS CLUB
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: KIDS CLUB
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: GIANT TURTOISE
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: GIANT TURTOISE
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: BEACH
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: BEACH
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: BEACH
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: BEACH
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: BEACH
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: BEACH
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: BEACH
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: BEACH
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: BEACH
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: BEACH
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: BEACH
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: BEACH
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: BEACH
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: BEACH
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: BEACH
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: BEACH
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: BEACH
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: BEACH
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: BEACH
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: BEACH
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: BEACH
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: BEACH
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: BEACH
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: BEACH
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: BEACH
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: BEACH
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: LUNCH ON THE BEACH
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: LUNCH ON THE BEACH
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: LUNCH ON THE BEACH
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: LUNCH ON THE BEACH
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: BEACH
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: BEACH
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: BEACH
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: BEACH
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: BEACH
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: BEACH
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: BEACH
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: BEACH
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: BEACH
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: BEACH
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: BEACH
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: BEACH
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: BEACH
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: BEACH
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: BEACH
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: BEACH
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: BEACH
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: BEACH
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: BEACH
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: BEACH
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: BEACH
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: BEACH
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: BEACH
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: BEACH
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: BEACH
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: BEACH
FOUR SEASONS SEYCHELLES: GYM
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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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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
AL MOURJAN LOUNGE: RESTAURANT
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AL MOURJAN LOUNGE: RESTAURANT
AL MOURJAN LOUNGE: RESTAURANT
AL MOURJAN LOUNGE: RESTAURANT
AL MOURJAN LOUNGE: RESTAURANT
AL MOURJAN LOUNGE: RESTAURANT
AL MOURJAN LOUNGE: RESTAURANT
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AL MOURJAN LOUNGE: RESTAURANT
AL MOURJAN LOUNGE: RESTAURANT
AL MOURJAN LOUNGE: RESTAURANT
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
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
QATAR AIRWAYS A330 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
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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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