Fairmont’s loyalty program (President’s Club) explained

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

Today (April 22, 2016): Travel series: Fairmont’s loyalty program (President’s Club) explained.

Being a member of a hotel loyalty program is one of the easiest ways to get free nights and/or score upgrades at luxury hotels. I previously published the details, with pros & cons, of the loyalty programs of Starwood, Hyatt, Hilton, Marriott, InterContinental and Jumeirah hotels. Today, I have a look at the Fairmont Hotel Group’s loyalty program.

President’s Club is the complimentary loyalty program of the Canadian based, Fairmont Hotel Group. With more than 70 hotels globally, and many more in development, the Fairmont collection boasts some of the most iconic hotels in the world, including The Plaza in New York, The Savoy in London, and The Fairmont Makkah Clock Royal Tower in Saudi Arabia. Fairmont is owned by FRHI Hotels & Resorts, a leading global hotel company that operates more than 130 hotels and branded residential properties under the Raffles, Fairmont and Swissôtel brands.

In this overview, I explain the Fairmont President’s Club:

  • Membership tiers & benefits
  • Pros & things I like about The President’s Club
  • Cons & things I don’t like about The President’s Club
  • Key points
  • Poll: what’s the best hotel loyalty program?

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

*** Follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for a daily moment of travel inspiration ***


PRESIDENT’S CLUB: MEMBERSHIP TIERS & BENEFITS

The Fairmont President’s Club has three membership leverls:

  • Club is the base level and has the following, complimentary, in-hotel benefits:
    • In-room high-speed internet access
    • Local calls and no service charge on toll-free calls
    • Health club access (excluded spas)
    • Shoeshine (city-center hotels)
    • Daily room delivery of local or national newspaper
    • Private reception desk, offering express check-in and check-out
  • Premier membership is awarded to members with 5 stays or 10 room nights in a calendar year. In addition to the benefits of Club members, Premier members also receive the following benefits:
    • Personalized membership kit, with membership card
    • Exclusive concierge reservation service
    • One complimentary room upgrade per year
    • One complimentary suite upgrade per year
    • One Fairmont dining or spa e-certificates of $50 USD per year
    • Complimentary third night on a three-night stay
    • Priority wait-list status
  • Platinum membership, the President’s Club highest level, is awarded to members with 10 stays or 30 room nights in a calendar year. In addition to the benefits of Club members, Platinum members also receive the following benefits:
    • Private reception desk, offering express check-in and check-out
    • Personalized membership kit, with membership card
    • Exclusive concierge reservation service
    • Two complimentary room upgrades per year
    • Two complimentary suite upgrades per year
    • One Fairmont dining or spa e-certificates of $100 USD per year
    • One complimentary night per year
    • Guaranteed room access
    • Guaranteed early arrival/late check-out
    • Personalized welcome amenity
    • Turndown service

PROS & THINGS I LIKE ABOUT THE PRESIDENT’S CLUB
  • Fairmont is one of the very few luxury hotel chains that owns a loyalty program and thus makes efforts to reward its most loyal guests. For example, hotel chains such as Four Seasons, Rosewood, Aman, Banyan Tree, and Mandarin Oriental do not offer a loyalty program.
  • The program is uncomplicated and thus very easy to understand. You don’t collect points (as compared to the other, better known hotel loyalty programs) but you are rewarded with benefits based on your loyalty status.
  • With the President’s Club, you can earn airline miles per stay with more than a dozen participating airlines: Aeroplan, American Airlines AAdvantage program, Air China, Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan, British Airways, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, Etihad Guest, Emirates Skywards, Jet Airways, Lufthansa Miles and More, Qatar Airways, Saudi Airlines, Singapore Airlines Krisflyer, and United Mileage Plus. To receive airline miles, reservations must be booked on qualifying rates. The number of airline mile you earn per stay depends on your membership tier: Club members get 500 miles, Premier members 750 miles and Platinum members 1000 miles.
  • Fairmont has a Best Rate Guarantee (BRG) program, which means that, when you book directly with Fairmont (Fairmont website, Fairmont’s worldwide reservation offices, or directly with a Fairmont hotel), you can be sure that you are getting the best publicly available price on the room of your choice. If within 24 hours of making your booking you find a lower price for the same hotel, room type and reservation dates, Fairmont will honour the lower rate and provide an additional complementary 10% rate reduction. To submit a claim, you need to call the Fairmont Global Reservation Center at 1 888 540 7077 (International: 1 506 388 6949) and provide them with the online address of the lower competing rate. Finding a better rate is not difficult at all, as I previously explained in my tips for booking a luxury hotel at the cheapest price.
  • Fairmont is owned by FRHI Hotels & Resorts, which also manages the Raffles and Swissôtel brands. Members of the Fairmont President’s Club also earn credits for stays at Swissotel and Raffles properties, and those credits are awarded based on the qualifying rate requirements of the brand where the stay took place. In addition, Premier and Platinum members also have access to many of the membership benefits that they enjoy at Fairmont Hotels & Resorts.
  • If you reach the treshold for Platinum membership, you will receive a complimentary hotel stay of one night per year. Guests who stay with Fairmont Hotels & Resorts over and above the Platinum membership criteria of 30 room nights are awarded an additional complimentary night for every 10th additional night stayed beyond Platinum tier criteria. For example, those who achieve 40 room nights in a calendar year will receive one complimentary night in addition to the complimentary night certificate that is included with Platinum membership. Members who reach their 50th room night will have earned an additional night, and so on.
  • Fairmont hotels are famous for their golf course. Premier and Platinum members enjoy a “two-for-one golf” benefit: when they check-in at any of the Fairmont golf resorts, they will receive a certificate which is good for one complimentary round of golf during their stay when purchasing a round of golf at the full rate.
  • President’s Club members also enjoy benefits from Fairmont’s partnerships with other brands, such as:
    • Complimentary use of TaylorMade golf clubs at select hotels
    • Fairmont Fit (in-room delivery of Reebok shoes and apparel, yoga mats and stretch bands)
    • Complimentary access to BMW bikes at select hotels and resorts

CONS & THINGS I DON’T LIKE ABOUT THE PRESIDENT’S CLUB
  • Fairmont is a rather small luxury hotel chain with only around 70 properties in its portfolio, making it very hard to achieve any status (and thus enjoy benefits) at all unless you are a Fairmont die-hard fan. However, you can also earn President’s Club credits and enjoy benefits at Raffles and Swissôtel properties, which makes the loyalty program a tad more interesting.
  • Contrary to most hotel loyalty programs, member of the President’s Club do not earn hotel points for their expenses at Fairmont hotels, and as such cannot save credits towards a free hotel night. You only get to enjoy some complimentary hotel benefits based on your status. On a positive note, Platinum members get at least one complimentary hotel night per year.
  • The future of the program is uncertain. Last year, The French-based hotel chain AccorHotels announced that it will acquire FRHI Holdings Ltd, the parent company of Raffles, Fairmont and Swissôtel. The acquisition of these three global brands will broaden AccorHotels’s geographic footprint in the luxury segment. However, as a consequence, the future of the Fairmont President’s Club program is uncertain. This may not necessary be a bad thing as the Fairmont loyalty program may be integrated into AccorHotels’ loyalty program – where member can earn and spend points – in the long term.
  • The benefits for the top-tier members are disappointing in comparison to other hotel programs. Complimentary breakfast is not offered, and while Premier and Platinum do receive a limited number of upgrade certificates per year, there’s no complimentary room upgrade at check-in (based upon availability) during your membership year.
  • While I appreciate Fairmont’s Best Rate Guarantee program, it’s ennoying that you need to submit the BRG claim by phone and not by email (especially for those living outside Northern America).
  • Turndown service – which is a common feature these days at most luxury hotels for all guests – is only provided to Platinum members at Fairmont properties.

KEY POINTS
  • Fairmont is a small but luxurious hotel chain, so be sure to subscribe to their loyalty program when you stay at one of their hotels since it will get you access to a few complimentary benefits, such as free high-speed WiFi.
  • Fairmont’s loyalty program also includes credits and benefits at Swissôtel and Raffles properties.
  • The future of the program is uncertain as Fairmont was recently acquired by AccorHotels, but this may turn out a good thing in the longterm (enabling you to collect and spend points at Fairmont properties).

*** Follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for a daily moment of travel inspiration ***


British Airways B787-9 First Class London to Muscat

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

Last April, I enjoyed a terrific holiday with one of my best friends in incredibly beautiful Oman. You can read my trip reports here:

Today (April  20, 2016): Trip report: British Airways Dreamliner B787-9 First Class London to Muscat (via Abu Dhabi)

On April 9th 2016, I flew First Class in a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner of British Airways (BA) from London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR) to Muscat International Airport (MCT) in Oman. The B787-9 is the latest aircraft type to join BA’s fleet. At the time of writing, seven B787-9 Dreamliners have been delivered to BA so far, in addition to eight B787-8 Dreamliners. While BA’s B787-8 has three classes (Economy, Premium Economy, and Business), the national carrier of the UK has utilized the additional 20ft (6 m) on its 787-9 to add a First Class cabin at the front of the aircraft. Created specifically for the Boeing 787-9, the new First Class suites have been painstakingly designed based on feedback  rom BA’s First Class customers, to put comfort at the heart of the experience and make the very best use of the more intimate space. Overall, I loved the experience. While the BA Dreamliner First Class product is not as opulent and lavish as compared to that of its Middle East competitors, it offers a more subtile, refined and very British experience.

The BA flight from London to Muscat is not a direct one, as the plane always makes a short, scheduled stop-over of around one hour in Abu Dhabi to let some passengers off and new ones on. Those with Muscat as final destination don’t need to deplane in Abu Dhabi. The cabin crew remains on the plane during the process (they have their layover in Muscat), while the flight crew is changed in Abu Dhabi.

  • Trip: LHR-MCT
  • Airline: British Airways
  • Aircraft type: Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner
  • Aircraft registration number: G-ZBKB
  • Flight Number: BA73
  • Date: April 9th, 2016
  • On time departure: yes (9.40 am)
  • On time arrival: yes (10 pm)
  • Miles: 3629
  • Flight time: 7 hours 20 minutes (excluding the one hour layover in Abu Dhabi)
  • Seat: 2A
  • Class: First

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

  1. BA premium check-in area at Heathrow
  2. The Concorde Room at Heathrow
  3. Facts & Figures about the BA Dreamliner
  4. First Class Cabin
  5. First Class Seat (& what seat to choose)
  6. Amenities
  7. Meal
  8. Entertainment
  9. Other inflight experiences
  10. My verdict

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

*** Follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for a daily moment of travel inspiration ***


1. BA PREMIUM CHECK-IN AREA AT HEATHROW

BA has a dedicated check-in area in the Southern end of Terminal 5 for its First Class passengers. I was warmly welcomed and checked-in within a matter of minutes. While other airlines often have a separate security check point for their First Class passengers adjacent to the First Class check-in area, that’s not the case at Heathrow: Business and First Class passengers all use the same fast track security lanes.

BRITISH AIRWAYS TERMINAL 5

BRITISH AIRWAYS TERMINAL 5

BRITISH AIRWAYS FIRST CLASS CHECK-IN AREA

BRITISH AIRWAYS FIRST CLASS CHECK-IN AREA

BRITISH AIRWAYS FIRST CLASS CHECK-IN AREA

BRITISH AIRWAYS FIRST CLASS CHECK-IN AREA


2. THE CONCORDE ROOM AT HEATHROW

The Concorde Room is BA’s most exclusive lounge category, and a step above the standard Business and First Class lounges it offers across the globe. The Concorde Room is only available at London’s Heathrow Airport and New York’s JFK Airport, and the lounge can only be accessed if you’re flying First Class on British Airways (one guest is welcome as well), or if you are a Gold Member of BA’ frequent flyer program Executive Club with 5,000 Tier Points.

At Heathrow, the Concorde Room is located within British Airways’ lounge complex at Terminal 5. It has two entrances: the main entrance is located on the first floor above the concourse (in front of the First Class lounge, and next to the spa entrance), but it also has a discrete side entrance that is located immediately after the security check point. The lounge itself is somewhat reminiscent of the lobby of a boutique hotel. It features the same contemporary decor that can also be found in the other BA lounges, with stylish high-backed chairs, beautiful chandeliers, horse statues, and oak wooded floors. While the lounge itself is not large and feels quite busy, there is plenty of seating for everyone. One side of the lounge features a couple of cozy sitting corners with gas fires (creating a “home away from home” ambience), while the opposite side of the lounge has a terrace which offers nice views across the airport’s concourse and apron.

The center of the lounge is made up of a stylish bar and restaurant. The restaurant space is quite remarkable, featuring a collection of lovely, private booths, in addition to a couple of long tables where you are seated next to other passengers if you would prefer this set-up. There’s full waiter service and an a la carte menu. I visited the lounge in the morning, so I was offered an extensive breakfast menu, but since I wanted to save my appetite for on the plane, I only ordered some granola and mixed fruits.

The various BA lounges at Terminal 5 share an Elemis Travel Spa, which is pretty awesome. While the complimentary treatments are quick (15 minutes), they are top shelf, plus it is something else to do to break up the trip. I loved it. First Class passengers can prebook treatments within 28 days of departure, while Business Class passengers and BA’s elite frequent flyers can only book them upon arrival at the spa.

THE CONCORDE ROOM: MAIN ENTRANCE

THE CONCORDE ROOM: MAIN ENTRANCE

THE CONCORDE ROOM: MAIN ENTRANCE

THE CONCORDE ROOM: MAIN ENTRANCE

THE CONCORDE ROOM: ELEMIS SPA

THE CONCORDE ROOM: ELEMIS SPA

THE CONCORDE ROOM: SIDE ENTRANCE

THE CONCORDE ROOM: SIDE ENTRANCE

THE CONCORDE ROOM

THE CONCORDE ROOM

THE CONCORDE ROOM

THE CONCORDE ROOM

THE CONCORDE ROOM

THE CONCORDE ROOM

THE CONCORDE ROOM

THE CONCORDE ROOM

THE CONCORDE ROOM

THE CONCORDE ROOM

THE CONCORDE ROOM: RESTAURANT

THE CONCORDE ROOM: RESTAURANT

THE CONCORDE ROOM

THE CONCORDE ROOM

THE CONCORDE ROOM

THE CONCORDE ROOM

THE CONCORDE ROOM

THE CONCORDE ROOM

THE CONCORDE ROOM: TERRACE

THE CONCORDE ROOM: TERRACE

THE CONCORDE ROOM: TERRACE

THE CONCORDE ROOM: TERRACE

THE CONCORDE ROOM: TERRACE

THE CONCORDE ROOM: TERRACE

THE CONCORDE ROOM: TERRACE

THE CONCORDE ROOM: TERRACE

THE CONCORDE ROOM: TERRACE

THE CONCORDE ROOM: TERRACE

THE CONCORDE ROOM: RESTAURANT

THE CONCORDE ROOM: RESTAURANT

THE CONCORDE ROOM: RESTAURANT

THE CONCORDE ROOM: RESTAURANT

THE CONCORDE ROOM: RESTAURANT

THE CONCORDE ROOM: RESTAURANT

THE CONCORDE ROOM: RESTAURANT

THE CONCORDE ROOM: RESTAURANT

THE CONCORDE ROOM: RESTAURANT

THE CONCORDE ROOM: RESTAURANT

THE CONCORDE ROOM: RESTAURANT

THE CONCORDE ROOM: RESTAURANT

THE CONCORDE ROOM: RESTAURANT

THE CONCORDE ROOM: RESTAURANT

THE CONCORDE ROOM: RESTAURANT

THE CONCORDE ROOM: RESTAURANT

THE CONCORDE ROOM: RESTAURANT

THE CONCORDE ROOM: RESTAURANT

THE CONCORDE ROOM: RESTAURANT

THE CONCORDE ROOM: RESTAURANT

THE CONCORDE ROOM: RESTAURANT

THE CONCORDE ROOM: RESTAURANT


3. FACTS & FIGURES ABOUT THE BA DREAMLINER

Here is some (fun) general information about the B787 as provided by BA:

  • The Boeing 787-8 is a mid-size, dual aisle, twin engine jet manufactured by Boeing, the American aerospace company.
  • The aircraft is 20% more fuel efficient than similar sized commercial jets it is designed to replace, and to date, is Boeing’s most fuel efficient aircraft.
  • Composite materials make up 50 percent of the primary structure, including the fuselage and wing.
  • The engine nacelles are made of serrated edges that reduce the noise levels both outside and inside the cabin, by up to 60%.
  • The aircraft also features raked wingtip to further improve the fuel efficiency.
  • The windows are more than 30 percent larger than those on most similarly sized airplanes. Instead of pulling shades up and down, customers can adjust the brightness of windows with a button. Using an electrochromic dimming system, the windows turn from fully transparent to completely dimmed in gradual steps.
  • Less than 10,000 holes are drilled into the fuselage during assembly of a 787.
  • The size of the 787 factory is approximately 380,000 square feet.
  • The 787 flies at Mach 0.85, or about 650 miles per hour.
  • Current BA 787 destinations are: Austin, Baltimore, Cairo, Calgary, Chengdu, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Montreal, Newark, Philadelphia, Seoul, Tel Aviv, and Toronto.
BRITISH AIRWAYS B787-9 DREAMLINER

BRITISH AIRWAYS B787-9 DREAMLINER

BRITISH AIRWAYS B787-9 DREAMLINER

BRITISH AIRWAYS B787-9 DREAMLINER

BRITISH AIRWAYS B787-9 DREAMLINER

BRITISH AIRWAYS B787-9 DREAMLINER

BRITISH AIRWAYS B787-9 DREAMLINER

BRITISH AIRWAYS B787-9 DREAMLINER

BRITISH AIRWAYS B787-9 DREAMLINER

BRITISH AIRWAYS B787-9 DREAMLINER

BRITISH AIRWAYS B787-9 DREAMLINER

BRITISH AIRWAYS B787-9 DREAMLINER

BRITISH AIRWAYS B787-9 DREAMLINER

BRITISH AIRWAYS B787-9 DREAMLINER

BRITISH AIRWAYS B787-9 DREAMLINER

BRITISH AIRWAYS B787-9 DREAMLINER

BRITISH AIRWAYS B787-9 DREAMLINER

BRITISH AIRWAYS B787-9 DREAMLINER


4. FIRST CLASS CABIN

Upon entering the plane, I was escorted by one of the flight attendants to the the small but exclusive First Class cabin. First Class on the BA Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft feels very private as it only features 8 seats, compared to the usual 14 seats in BA’s other aircraft types (B747, B777, and A380). The 8 seats are spread across two rows in a 1-2-1 herringbone configuration, all of them having direct aisle access. The 4 First Class seats on the sides are ideal for solo travelers (with 2 large windows per seat, offering great views), while the 4 seats in the middle are perfect for those traveling with a companion. But if you are a solo traveler and you end up in one the middle seats, there’s no problem as you can rise a divider for complete privacy. The First Class cabin features a beautiful, contemporary, somewhat minimalistic design (which I liked a lot): it feels luxurious and the dark and light neutral colors create a relaxing ambience of wellbeing and comfort.

Click here for a seat map of the British Airways B787-9.

FIRST CLASS CABIN

FIRST CLASS CABIN

FIRST CLASS CABIN (INFLIGHT)

FIRST CLASS CABIN (INFLIGHT)

FIRST CLASS CABIN (INFLIGHT)

FIRST CLASS CABIN (INFLIGHT)

FIRST CLASS CABIN: VIEW INTO THE COCKPIT

FIRST CLASS CABIN: VIEW INTO THE COCKPIT

FIRST CLASS CABIN: VIEW INTO THE COCKPIT

FIRST CLASS CABIN: VIEW INTO THE COCKPIT

FIRST CLASS CABIN AT NIGHT

FIRST CLASS CABIN AT NIGHT

FIRST CLASS CABIN AT NIGHT

FIRST CLASS CABIN AT NIGHT

BUSINESS CLASS

BUSINESS CLASS

BUSINESS CLASS CABIN

BUSINESS CLASS CABIN

PREMIUM ECONOMY

PREMIUM ECONOMY

ECONOMY

ECONOMY


5. FIRST CLASS SEAT (& WHAT SEAT TO CHOOSE)

Created specifically for the Boeing 787-9, the new First Class suite is an upgraded version of the ‘old’ product that you find on BA’s other longhaul planes and is currently the best that BA has to offer in terms of cabin comfort. Contrary to the enclosed First Class suites with sliding doors that you find on several other airlines these days, the BA B787-9 First Class seat features an open design, although it’s located within its own cocoon and feels totally private (no other passengers can see you, thanks to the herringbone layout and high seat walls).

The seat itself is quiet spacious, with a generous pitch of 73 inches (185 cm) and width of 22 inches (56 cm). It features a dark, leather-stitched upholstery, giving you the feeling of being seated in a luxury car. In front of the seat, there’s a large, 23-inch (58 cm) entertainment screen (more on that later) and the (adjustable) ottoman. Because the entertainment screen is fixed above the ottoman, there’s no possibility to use the ottoman as an extra seat to dine with a buddy within your suite. However, the fixed screen has the advantage that you don’t need to stow the screen during takeoff and landing, so you can continue to watch your movie and enjoy gate to gate entertainment. One side of the seat features a retro chrome pearlite reading lamp and a large, shiny tray table (which can be pulled out from the side wall of the suite). A jog wheel control device regulates each feature within the suite, from the side lamp to seat recline: you press the button of the seat feature that you want to adjust, and then turn the weel either way to manipulate the lights or lumbar support.

In addition to the overhead bins, there are four dedicated spaces within the suite to store all your stuff: (1) a narrow inward facing wardrobe is ideal to hang your coat; (2) a triangular shaped bin to store your shoes and/or bag is located adjacent to the ottoman and below the wardrobe; (3) a small cabinet is located next to the seat at eye level and features a vanity mirror inside, and (4) a tiny storage spaces below the seat controls and power ports that also holds the remote control is perfect for storing your wallet, glasses, and cellphone.

Of course, the seat – together with the ottoman – can be transformed in a fully lie-flat bed, and it’s a very comfortable one. It’s 78 inches (198cm) long and 38 inches (95 cm) wide because the arm rests go down as well when you flatten the seat. The crew provides a soft mattress topper, a thick pillow, and very comfortable blanket, so you will not have a problem at all to fall asleep (and it helps that the plane is so quiet).

What are the best First Class seats on BA’s B787-9? Click here for a seat map.

  • Solo travelers should go fo the window seats, while companions should choose the middle seats.

What are the worst First Class seats on BA’s B787-9? Click here for a seat map.

  • There are no bad seats in BA’s B787-9 First Class cabin.
FIRST CLASS SEAT 2A

FIRST CLASS SEAT 2A

FIRST CLASS SEAT 2A

FIRST CLASS SEAT 2A

FIRST CLASS SEAT

FIRST CLASS SEAT

FIRST CLASS SEAT

FIRST CLASS SEAT

FIRST CLASS SUITE

FIRST CLASS SUITE

FIRST CLASS SUITE: STORAGE SPACE

FIRST CLASS SUITE: STORAGE SPACE

FIRST CLASS SUITE: STORAGE SPACE

FIRST CLASS SUITE: STORAGE SPACE

FIRST CLASS SEAT

FIRST CLASS SEAT

FIRST CLASS SUITE

FIRST CLASS SUITE

FIRST CLASS SUITE

FIRST CLASS SUITE

FIRST CLASS SUITE

FIRST CLASS SUITE

FIRST CLASS SUITE

FIRST CLASS SUITE

FIRST CLASS SUITE: WARDROBE

FIRST CLASS SUITE: WARDROBE

FIRST CLASS SUITE AT NIGHT

FIRST CLASS SUITE AT NIGHT

SEAT CONTROLS

SEAT CONTROLS

FIRST CLASS SEAT: FLAT BED

FIRST CLASS SEAT: FLAT BED

FIRST CLASS SEAT: FLAT BED

FIRST CLASS SEAT: FLAT BED

FIRST CLASS SEAT: FLAT BED

FIRST CLASS SEAT: FLAT BED

ELECTROCHROMIC DIMMING OF THE WINDOWS

ELECTROCHROMIC DIMMING OF THE WINDOWS

ELECTROCHROMIC DIMMING OF THE WINDOWS

ELECTROCHROMIC DIMMING OF THE WINDOWS

ELECTROCHROMIC DIMMING OF THE WINDOWS

ELECTROCHROMIC DIMMING OF THE WINDOWS

ELECTROCHROMIC DIMMING OF THE WINDOWS

ELECTROCHROMIC DIMMING OF THE WINDOWS


6. AMENITIES

BA provides its First Class passengers a very nice amenity kit (‘washbag’ as they call them), with a different content for men and women. The stylish, grey colored bag features a British Airways leather logo on the front and the word “First” imprinted on the leather zipper pull. The men’s bag – which I received – contains shave gel, revitalizer moisturizer, lip balm, deodorant stick, and eye gel from London based, grooming emporium for men, The Refinery, in addition to essentials such as such as a pen, eyeshades, socks, earplugs, hairbrush and razor.

BA’s First Class passengers also receive a pajama, which is a very nice gesture (for example: Qatar Airways and Emirates – both famous for their onboard luxury and service – do not provide pajamas on medium-haul dayflights). The lightweight, dark green pajama is presented with a ribbon bow, and features the BA First Class logo on the chest.

PAJAMA

PAJAMA

AMENITY KIT

AMENITY KIT

AMENITY KIT

AMENITY KIT

AMENITY KIT

AMENITY KIT

AMENITY KIT

AMENITY KIT

AMENITY KIT

AMENITY KIT

HEADPHONES & BLANKET

HEADPHONES & BLANKET


7. MEALS

Upon boarding, I was served a welcome beverage (I choose orange juice, since somehow, I don’t really like to drink alcohol when on a plane). A refreshing hot towel was served after takeoff, and lunch service started about one hour after being airborne (although one could also choose to have lunch at a later time). I choose the following items from the extensive menu:

  • Starter: Meze plate featuring parsley and chill hummus, aubergine mutabbal, chickpea, cumin and lentil salad with chicken kebab and lamb bilajine.
  • Soup: Cream of wild mushroom soup.
  • Main course Seared fillet of North Atlantic cod with a sorrel cream sauce, chervil and lemon couscous, braised fennel and herb oil.
  • Dessert: Lemon and semolina sponge pudding with lemon sauce

The food was excellent and all dishes were well executed, tasty and visually appealing.

About 90 minutes before landing at Abu Dhabi International Airport, afternoon tea was served. It included a selection of sandwiches, patisserie and scones:

  • Sandwiches featuring crayfish with mango, roast beef with horseradish cream, egg mayonnaise with rocket, and smoked Applewood cheese with onion.
  • Patisserie featuring Pistachio and raspberry Opéra, lemon meringue tart, and ginger cake.
  • Buttermilk and fruit scones served warm with clotted cream and strawberry preserves.

During the short flight from Abu Dhabi to Muscat, a drink was offered, as well as some mouth-watering canapés.

ORANGE JUICE BEFORE TAKEOFF

ORANGE JUICE BEFORE TAKEOFF

HOT TOWEL

HOT TOWEL

MENU

MENU

MENU

MENU

MENU

MENU

MENU

MENU

MENU

MENU

MENU

MENU

MENU

MENU

MENU

MENU

MENU

MENU

MENU

MENU

MENU

MENU

MENU

MENU

MENU

MENU

MENU

MENU

MENU

MENU

APERITIF

APERITIF

APERITIF

APERITIF

TABLE SETTING

TABLE SETTING

AMUSE BOUCHE

AMUSE BOUCHE

AMUSE BOUCHE

AMUSE BOUCHE

STARTER

STARTER

STARTER

STARTER

SOUP

SOUP

SOUP

SOUP

MAIN COURSE

MAIN COURSE

MAIN COURSE

MAIN COURSE

DESSERT

DESSERT

AFTERNOON TEA

AFTERNOON TEA

AFTERNOON TEA: SANDWICHES

AFTERNOON TEA: SANDWICHES

AFTERNOON TEA: PATISSERIE

AFTERNOON TEA: PATISSERIE

AFTERNOON TEA: SCONES

AFTERNOON TEA: SCONES

CANAPÉS OFFERED ON FLIGHT FROM ABU DHABI TO MUSCAT

CANAPÉS OFFERED ON FLIGHT FROM ABU DHABI TO MUSCAT

CANAPÉS OFFERED ON FLIGHT FROM ABU DHABI TO MUSCAT

CANAPÉS OFFERED ON FLIGHT FROM ABU DHABI TO MUSCAT


8. INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT

The inflight entertainment is displayed on the individual giant 23-inch (58 cm) touch-screen that is supported by one hand-held controller. The latter is found in the tiny storage space next to the seat and it really helps as you don’t have to lean forward to touch the screen all the time when you want to change the entertainment. There are tons of movies and tv shows to explore, alongside a range of other content, including a much-enhanced flight map and chat sessions with other passengers (so if you fancy striking up a conversation with someone six rows or even a cabin away, now is your chance).


9 OTHER INFLIGHT EXPERIENCES

#CREW: I love the BA cabin crew, and during all my flights with BA, I never encountered any problem with them or with the onboard service, and it was not different on this flight. What I like particularly about the BA crew is their professionalism and routine when it comes to passenger communications. For example, the flight crew always talks over the intercom to the passengers before take-off and 40 minutes before arrival (no matter how short the duration of the flight is), and the cabin crew always addresses the passengers following their flight crew colleagues. Somehow, this predictable routine (often lacking with other airlines) makes me feel a lot more comfortable since I am a nervous flyer. In addition, we encountered some unexpected, moderate turbulence on the way from Abu Dhabi to Muscat, and the pilot immediately communicated to the passengers that this was not something to worry about.

# BAR: unfortunately, there’s no walk-up bar present on the Dreamliner, but one could order whatever he/she wanted from the menu at any time.

# LAVATORY: there’s just one lavatory for First Class passengers in the front of the cabin (behind the cockpit), which is fairly spacious and well-appointed with toiletries.

FIRST CLASS LAVATORY

FIRST CLASS LAVATORY

FIRST CLASS LAVATORY

FIRST CLASS LAVATORY

FIRST CLASS LAVATORY

FIRST CLASS LAVATORY

FIRST CLASS LAVATORY

FIRST CLASS LAVATORY

# WIFI: unfortunately, WiFi is not offered by BA at the moment. Currently, they are testing it on one of their planes.

# FLIGHT PATH: normally, the flight path from London to Muscat via Abu Dhabi goes straight over Syria and Iraq, but the plane detoured around the current ISIS conflict area by flying over eastern Iran.

FLIGHT PATH

FLIGHT PATH

# CHAUFFEUR SERVICE: unfortunately, BA does not provide complimentary chauffeur-driven airport transfers for its First Class passengers (in contrast to most other airlines).


MY VERDICT

  • Seat : 9/10
  • Food:  8/10
  • Inflight entertainment : 9/10
  • Service: 8/10
  • Cabin: 9/10
  • Overall experience: excellent: 8.6/10

*** Follow me on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook for a daily moment of travel inspiration ***


Top 10: most exclusive resorts in Mauritius

Monday newsletters always feature top 10 travel lists to inspire.

Today (April 18, 2016): top 10 best luxury resorts in Mauritius.

The idyllic island of Mauritius with its unspoilt beaches and azure waters offers a unique experience of European, African and Asian cultures. It is one of the top three island destinations in the warm Indian Ocean (the other two being the Maldives and the Seychelles). But while Mauritius is undeniably scenic, its beaches are not as stunning as those of the Seychelles and the Maldives. The latter islands have the most beautiful beaches of the world and are covered by lush vegetation, while the beaches of Mauritius are gorgeous but not exceptionally beautiful and the island’s vegetation is rather sparse. Nevertheless, Mauritius boasts some of the most luxurious resorts in the world, being on pair with those on the Maldives and better than those in the Seychelles. I hereby present you a list of my 10 favorite resorts in this paradise island.

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

*** Top 10 best hotels in French Polynesia, the Maldives, the Caribbean and the Seychelles ***


10. LUX* LE MORNE

Nestled at the foot of the majestic Le Morne mountain in the South West corner of Mauritius, and sheltered from trade winds by the rugged Le Morne Brabant peak (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), LUX* Le Morne boasts splendid white sandy beaches that unravel as far as the eye can see and are the ideal decor for romantic sunset walks. This five-star resort has 149 rooms & suits, yet offers the tranquil charm of a boutique hotel. Set in delightfully landscaped gardens, the hotel’s four pools, spa and restaurants that pair island-inspired dishes with New World wines add to this beach hotel’s out of this world experience.

LUX* LE MORNE

LUX* LE MORNE


9. CONSTANCE BELLE MARE PLAGE

Constance Belle Mare Plage is located along one of the best beaches in the east of Mauritius. You can stroll down the endless white sand beach, play golf on two championship golf courses, snorkel in the Indian Ocean, or pamper yourself at the resort’s Shiseido Spa. There are 7 restaurants to choose from, offering everything from elegant fine dining experiences to burgers and salads on the beach. Seize the opportunity to try new things whether it’s diving for the first time, water skiing, kite surfing or just picking up some gastronomic tips from the world-class chefs in one of the cookery classes.

CONSTANCE BELLE MARE

CONSTANCE BELLE MARE


8. SHANGRI-LA TOUESSROK RESORT

The mythical Mauritian luxury hotel Le Touessrok lies on a beautiful stretch of sandy coast, looking out over tranquil Trou d’Eau Douce Bay. Out in the lagoon are two beautiful islands: little paradise island Ilot Mangénie, exclusive for Le Touessrok’s guests; and Ile aux Cerfs with its spectacular Bernhard Langer designed 18-hole championship golf course. This is 5-star luxury at its best, with a fabulous range of facilities, including an extensive range of water sports and land-based activities, 7 restaurants, a renowned Givenchy spa and personal butler service.

  • Hotel website: Shangri-La Le Touessrok
  • Tip: enjoy free VIP amenities when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and a complimentary 50 minute massage).
LE TOUESSROK RESORT

LE TOUESSROK RESORT


7. ONE&ONLY LE SAINT GERAN

One&Only Le Saint Géran is north facing and basks on the golden peninsula of Belle Mare on the island´s northeast coast, surrounded by 60 acres of tropical gardens and thousands of swaying coconut trees. Terraced and balconied rooms all face out privately to the Indian Ocean. With immaculate health and beauty treatments, here is a place that always fulfils the promise of its timeless reputation, although the communal areas and room could use a refurbishment. This hideaway is also a wonderland for all manner of water sports with beaches, coves and reefs famed for kiteboarding, water-skiing and scuba diving.

  • Hotel website: One&Only Le Saint Geran
  • Tip: enjoy free VIP amenities when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, welcome Mauritian rum set up in the suite, and a 4 course menu offered in the gastronomic Indian restaurant).

ONE&ONLY LE SAINT GERAN


6. ROYAL PALM HOTEL

Sheltered on the northwestern coast amidst lush gardens, this property is laid out so that all the suites face the lagoon, where guests can enjoy complimentary water sports. Its pristine stretch of beach is as sparkling white as the uniforms of staff who know guests by name. A proud member of “The Leading Hotels of the World“, it symbolizes the harmony between luxury and refinement. While the resort’s acclaimed spa, amenities and activities are decidedly 21st-century, the views of the crystalline sea and the palm-lined coast could be plucked straight out of Bernadin de Saint-Pierre’s 18th-century novel, Paul et Virginie, set on the island.

ROYAL PALM HOTEL

ROYAL PALM HOTEL


5. CONSTANCE LE PRINCE MAURICE

Constance Le Prince Maurice enjoys an idyllic location on the north-east coast of Mauritius. Set amidst 60 hectares of unspoiled terrain, it is sheltered from the prevailing winds and provides maximum privacy for its guests. Its tropical gardens consist of rare and luxuriant vegetation, and the calm turquoise lagoon blends perfectly with the lush, green landscape and the secluded beaches of brilliant white sand. A natural fish reserve situated in the western part of the hotel adds to the uniqueness and natural beauty of the location. The resort belongs to The Leading Hotels of the World‘s portfolio.

CONSTANCE LE PRINCE MAURICE

CONSTANCE LE PRINCE MAURICE


4. SHANTI MAURICE

Nestling between sugarcane fields and the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean, Shanti Maurice satisfies all the senses. With exotic gardens, pristine white sands, a sublime spa, spacious accommodation and restaurants brimming with fresh ideas, you’ll find a place, and people, devoted to pleasure. 61 rooms, suites, and villas range from the Junior Ocean View Suites to the massive Presidential Villa (also fit for kings, queens, sultans, etc.). Interiors are filled with natural elements including local hardwoods, granite, marble, and slate.

SHANTI MAURICE

SHANTI MAURICE


3. FOUR SEASONS RESORT MAURITIUS AT ANAHITA

Four Seasons Resort Mauritius at Anahita welcomes guests to a luxurious tropical sanctuary, where greetings of warm smiles and gentle lagoon breezes fill each day. Whether you’re playing a complimentary round on the thrilling oceanfront finish of the resort’s Ernie Els-designed golf course or splashing with the family by the lagoon, the stylish open-air luxury resort invites relaxation, romance and endless possibilities for adventure amid the dramatic landscape and the vibrant colours of Mauritius. Its 136 villas and residence villas are generous in size and designed to interact with the outdoors.

FOUR SEASONS MAURITIUS

FOUR SEASONS MAURITIUS


2. OBEROI MAURITIUS

The Oberoi captures the spirit of Mauritius in a resort that combines its abundant natural beauty with refined luxury. The resort is located in 20 acres of beautiful sub-tropical gardens with a 600 meter oceanfront. Villas with private swimming pools and luxury pavilions offer panoramic views of the ocean. Marble bathrooms with sunken tubs overlook private walled gardens. The resort offers a range of water sports and recreation like wind surfing, water skiing, diving and sailing. Two open-sided thatch restaurants prepare the best in Asian and continental cuisine.

OBEROI MAURITIUS

OBEROI MAURITIUS


1. ST REGIS MAURITIUS

The St Regis Mauritius is a tremendously impressive, 5-star luxury resort with 172 lavishly appointed guest rooms and suites that all offer breathtaking views over the Indian Ocean waters. It is the first property of the legendary St Regis brand in the Indian Ocean, and is located in the southwestern side of the island of Mauritius. The beach (the finest on the island), its turquoise lagoon (with gorgeous sunset views) and the backdrop of Le Morne mountain create a magical setting, where lavishly appointed accommodations and pampering converge amid the many charms of Mauritius.

ST REGIS MAURITIUS


*** Follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for a daily moment of travel inspiration ***


Take Our Poll

Travel tip: how to stay for free at InterContinental hotels?

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

Today (April 15th, 2016): travel tip: how to stay for free at InterContinental hotels?

I previously published my tips for staying for free at luxury hotels. One of your best chances for scoring a free night at a luxury hotel is to make use of a Best Rate Guarantee at an InterContinental hotel, which I explain in depth today.

For those of you not familiar with the brand: the Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG) is the largest hotel company in the world by number of rooms, with around 600,000 rooms in over 100 countries. It operates a diverse portfolio of brands across multiple economic segments, including Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn. InterContinental Hotels and Resorts is the flagship of IHG, and is designed to cater to international business and leisure travelers in the upper upscale segment of the hotel industry.

STAY FOR FREE AT THE INTERCONTINENTAL BORA BORA

STAY FOR FREE AT THE INTERCONTINENTAL BORA BORA

If you want to stay for free at an InterContinental hotel, you will need to find a lower rate on non-IHG website and submit an online claim, all within 24 hours of completing a reservation on the official InterContinental website. If your claim is approved, InterContinental will provide the first night’s room price free and match the lower average nightly room price found for that stay for the remainder of your stay (in case of a prepaid room, the difference in price will be refunded). So if you only stay one night, then that night will be for free. I have done it multiple times before, and this is how you can do it as well:

  • Step 1: Make up your mind on what InterContinental hotel you want to stay at. There are around 150 hotels in major cities and leisure destinations in over 60 countries under this brand, so there’s a good chance that an InterContinental hotel is located along your upcoming travel itinerary. You can access a list with all InterContinental hotels on the official Intercontinental website. The overall quality of InterContinental properties ranges from poor (e.g. InterContinental Muscat) to excellent (e.g. InterContinental Bordeaux, San Francisco, and Bora Bora).
  • Step 2: Try to find a lower rate than the one displayed on the official IHG website for your preferred travel dates (it helps if your travel dates are flexible). Finding a lower rate may seem a complicated process if you are not familiar with travel tricks, however this is not difficult at all as I have previously explained in this blogpost. All you need to do is verify the hotel rate on the hotel aggregator websites Hotelscombined and Trivago, which check at once the price of a hotel room at hundreds of other sites (e.g. Booking.com,  Onhotels.com, Otel.com, Hotels.com, Expedia, Hotelopia.com, etc…) and then show you where you can book the cheapest rate. Try it out for yourself here (and find out how easy it is):

  • Step 3: Once you found a lower rate on another website, you need to make a booking on the official InterContinental website. Make sure that you book a refundable rate (so that you can still cancel your reservation in case your claim is denied).
  • Step 4: After you completed the booking, you need to submit an online Best Rate Guarantee (BRG) claim. This only takes one minute and must be done within 24 hours of making your booking.
  • Step 5: Now all you can do now is wait for the response from InterContinental (which will follow by email within 24 hours after submitting your claim) and hope that your claim will be approved, resulting in a free hotel night. How cool is that!

There are some catches though, so be sure to take the following into consideration when trying to score a free night through the InterContinental BRG program:

  • You can only submit a BRG claim after making a reservation. Always make sure that you book a refundable rate, so that you can cancel your reservation in case your BRG is not approved.
  • Only the lowest type of rate is eligible for a BRG. In other words, if an InterContinental hotel offers a pre-paid, non-refundable rate, then this is the only type of rate at that hotel which is eligible for a BRG. So, in this case, you would need to book a non-refundable rate in order to be eligible to submit a BRG claim and if it’s not approved, then you will be stuck with a pre-paid rate (that is why I advise against submitting a BRG claim for a prepaid, non-refundable rate).
  • The BRG is only available for the exact same room type and same view. For example, if you book a king bed with a sofa bed room type and with a view (e.g., ocean) on an IHG website, and are comparing it to a non-IHG website, you must find a price with the same king bed with sofa bed room type and with a the same view on the non-IHG website.
  • All terms of the comparison room reservation, including, but not limited to pre-payment, deposit, cancellation policy, number of guests, or other requirements must be equal in all respects to the terms found on an IHG website for your claim to be valid. For example, when you book a room that may be cancelled without penalty on an IHG website, you may not compare it to a room with a pre-paid or non-refundable price on a non-IHG website.

Enjoy the weekend and stay tuned for Monday when I reveal a new top 10 travel list.


*** Follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for a daily moment of travel inspiration ***


Hotel review: COMO Point Yamu, Phuket (Thailand)

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

Today (April 13, 2016): Review of COMO Point Yamu in Phuket (Thailand). 

COMO Point Yamu is a new Phuket luxury resort located at the tip of Cape Yamu overlooking the Andaman Sea and the dramatic limestones of Phang Nga Bay. Interiors by Italian designer Paola Navone offer a unique expression of contemporary Thai luxury, alongside a COMO Shambhala wellness retreat and two world-class restaurants for Thai and Italian cuisine. Those of you craving for a room with an ocean view should put this design resort on their bucket list since all rooms here come with spectacular views.

COMO Point Yamu features in my top 10 lists of the best luxury hotels in Thailand and Phuket’s best ultra luxury resorts.

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

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

*** Follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for a daily moment of travel inspiration ***


PROS & THINGS I LIKE
  • COMO Point Yamu enjoys a privileged and secluded location on Cape Yamu, a gated community of low-rise villas on a tropical peninsula on Phuket’s east coast that overlooks peaceful Phang Nga Bay – a UNESCO World Heritage Site that was made famous in the 1974 James Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun. The resort is an easy 25-minute drive from Phuket International Airport, appealing to both Asia-based couples and families seeking a short break to rejuvenate as well as long-haul guests looking for a comprehensive escape.
  • The resort sits atop a gently rising promontory, affording stunning panoramic views of the cobalt warm waters of the Andaman Sea and the dramatic limestone karsts of Phang Nga Bay from almost every corner in the property.
  • The hotel’s striking contemporary decor was created by Italian avant-garde design talent Paola Navone. The interiors feature COMO’s signature clean lines and pared-back minimalism united with the Italian designer’s eclectic, colourful approach and the use of local materials. Bright aquamarines and burnt oranges reflect the presence of the sea, Thailand’s Buddhist culture, and the colourful influence of Phuket’s Peranakan culture.
  • The hotel’s grey, somewhat simple exterior is unremarkable but it’s a different story once you step inside. Arriving at Point Yamu’s lofty, open-sided lobby via the majestic steps is like entering a sleek design museum. The space’s centerpiece is a temple-alike installation of stacked wooden coffee tables laden with ceramic dolls holding welcom­ing signs in Thai and red glazed ceramic bowls that hold bright flowers.
  • COMO Point Yamu features an impressive 100m (328 feet) infinity pool, surrounded by comfortable sun loungers and overlooking scenic Phang Nga Bay. One side is very shallow and suitable to small children, while the other side is perfect for adults to splash around. Fruity icy poles are regularly brought round to refresh guests. The pool is flanked by the hotel’s two restaurants (more on that below), so you can order lunch, snacks and cocktails to your sun bed.
  • COMO Point Yamu’s luxury accommodation is colourful yet uncluttered, contemporary yet indigenous. Blue and turquoise design accents in the resort’s 79 rooms and suites (and 27 private pool villas), recalling the Andaman Sea, all offset by cool white and grey Sino patterned tiles and floor-to-ceiling windows framing the spectacular views. Apart from Bay Rooms, all rooms have private terraces with views across Phang Nga Bay or inland across the Cape, while pool suites benefit from their own swimming pools.
  • During my holiday, I stayed in a sublime Bay Suite. This light-filled suite had an indoor dining table with two chairs, a guest bathroom, a separate living room, a bedroom (with Egyptian cotton sheets on the king-sized bed), and a balcony overlooking Yamu Bay. The piece de resistance was the über luxe bathroom, with aquamarine and deep blue tiles, wooden ladders to hang towels on, and a circular bath tub with a chandelier of suspended light bulbs like bubbles gone astray. There was also a rain shower and twin wash basins.
  • The bathroom toiletries are amongst the best in the hotel industry. COMO is famous for its holistic Shambhala Spas, and its own-brand potions are distributed in tiny bottles in the guest bathrooms.
  • High-speed WiFi is complimentary and of excellent quality throughout the resort.
  • COMO Point Yamu takes gastronomy very seriously and it’s superb cuisine plays a star role, with the resort offering a range of excellent dining options, including relaxed Italian cooking and locally caught seafood at ‘La Sirena’, and spicy southern Thai cooking at ‘Nahmyaa’. Healthy COMO Shambhala Cuisine, designed to maximise energy and wellbeing, can be enjoyed at The Central Bar, while private dining such as beach picnics and romantic sunset meals can be arranged in-room and at a number of special locations in and near to the resort.
  • The spirit of wellness permeates throughout the hotel, and Como Shambala – the COMO hotel group’s award-winning wellness concept –  influences its restaurant menu and the excellent spa, the Como Shambala Retreat. The latter sits above the main pool and offers offer holistic treatments to improve mental quietude, physical wellbeing and spiritual balance. There’s a yoga studio, two double and five single treatment rooms, four Thai massage alcoves, an outdoor deck with two plunge pools, plus separate male and female steam rooms, Jacuzzi and gym. I had the specially recommended signature Como Shambhala massage with aromatic oils, and it felt terrific.
  • The resort has a nice kids club as well as a games room with pool table, table football, darts, and PlayStation.
  • What really makes this place, is the impeccably trained staff, who are eager to please: the service in general is superb and very attentive, without being intrusive.

CONS & THINGS TO KNOW

COMO Point Yamu is a superb five-star hotel. I loved my stay at this wonderful Phuket resort, enjoying the phenomenal views, cutting-edge design, mouthwatering food, and excellent wellness facilities. There are some things you need to know though when considering a stay here to set your expectations right:

  • COMO Point Yamu’s elevated aspect above the Cape affords 360 degree spectacular Andaman Sea views but it also provides some disappointing news for beachgoers as the resort has no direct access to a beach. However, the good news is that the resort has a private COMO Beach Club on a small island, 40 minutes by complimentary boat shuttle from the hotel.
  • The hotel is located on the barely developed east coast of Phuket, so this isn’t the best spot for seaside relaxation or nighlife, as there are no beaches, shops, or bars within walking distance. However, the location does offer serenity for those looking for tranquility and it makes a good casting off point for sailing around the islands.
  • Because of the contemporary, sleek design, the hotel does not feel very authentic nor does it reflect the ambience of Thailand. For most of its guests though, that is not a problem at all as the design will blow them away.
  • This hotel is not cheap mainly because you either have to eat and drink on site or splash out on taxis to go elsewhere. Having said that, you should know that going in. Besides, the room rates are in line with those charged at Phuket’s other five-star hotels, and they include a host of complimentary activities, including yoga, tai chi, pilates, flower-arranging and longtail boat rides to beaches on nearby islands. However, food at the hotel’s restaurants is very expensive and costs more as compared to dining venues at other 5 star hotels in the area.

MY VERDICT
  • Location: 8/10
  • Design: 9/10
  • Rooms: 9/10
  • Food: 9/10
  • Service: 9/10
  • Overall experience: very good: 8,8/10

TIPS FOR FUTURE GUESTS & SAVE MONEY
  • Save money: read my tips for getting the best deal at a luxury hotel like COMO Point Yamu (and/or receive many free perks).
  • Read my tips for preparing your trip in time.

BEST TIME TO VISIT PHUKET

The weather in Phuket is dominated by a tropical monsoon climate which means there are three main seasons: a cool, dry season between November and February (which is the best period to visit Phuket); a hot, dry season from March to June, and a rainy season from July to October. Expect daytime temperatures to be in excess of 30 degrees centigrade throughout the year (with the possible exception of late December and early January). The two periods April to May and September to October are characterised by very high humidity. The southwest monsoons arrive between May and October bringing unsettled, cloudy conditions, as well as lower room rates.


HOW TO GET THERE

The COMO Point Yamu resort is located on the East coast of Phuket island, a 25 min drive from Phuket Airport. Check the Wikipedia page of Phuket Airport for an updated list of airlines that offer direct flights to Phuket.


HOTEL EXTERIOR & ENTRANCE

HOTEL EXTERIOR & ENTRANCE

HOTEL EXTERIOR & ENTRANCE

HOTEL EXTERIOR & ENTRANCE

HOTEL EXTERIOR & ENTRANCE

HOTEL EXTERIOR & ENTRANCE

HOTEL EXTERIOR & ENTRANCE

HOTEL EXTERIOR & ENTRANCE

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY: WELCOME DRINK

LOBBY: WELCOME DRINK

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

PLAYROOM (ADJACENT TO LOBBY)

PLAYROOM (ADJACENT TO LOBBY)

PLAYROOM (ADJACENT TO LOBBY)

PLAYROOM (ADJACENT TO LOBBY)

PLAYROOM (ADJACENT TO LOBBY)

PLAYROOM (ADJACENT TO LOBBY)

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

RECEPTION GARDEN

RECEPTION GARDEN

RECEPTION GARDEN

RECEPTION GARDEN

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR

RESORT MAP

RESORT MAP

AQUA BAR

AQUA BAR

AQUA BAR

AQUA BAR

AQUA BAR: RESTROOM

AQUA BAR: RESTROOM

POOL

POOL

POOL

POOL

POOL

POOL

POOL

POOL

VIEW FROM POOL

VIEW FROM POOL

VIEW FROM POOL

VIEW FROM POOL

VIEW FROM POOL

VIEW FROM POOL

VIEW FROM POOL

VIEW FROM POOL

VIEW FROM POOL

VIEW FROM POOL

VIEW FROM POOL

VIEW FROM POOL

POOL

POOL

POOL

POOL

POOL

POOL

POOL

POOL

POOL

POOL

POOL

POOL

POOL

POOL

POOL

POOL

POOL

POOL

POOL

POOL

POOL

POOL

POOL

POOL

POOL

POOL

POOL

POOL

POOL

POOL

POOL

POOL

POOL

POOL

POOL

POOL

POOL

POOL

POOL

POOL

POOL

POOL

POOL

POOL

POOL

POOL

POOL: SUNRISE

POOL: SUNRISE

POOLSIDE LUNCH: CAESAR SALAD

POOLSIDE LUNCH: CAESAR SALAD

GUEST FLOOR HALLWAY

GUEST FLOOR HALLWAY

GUEST FLOOR HALLWAY

GUEST FLOOR HALLWAY

GUEST FLOOR HALLWAY

GUEST FLOOR HALLWAY

ENTRANCE TO BAY SUITE #407

ENTRANCE TO BAY SUITE #407

BAY SUITE: ENTRANCE

BAY SUITE: ENTRANCE

BAY SUITE: ENTRANCE

BAY SUITE: ENTRANCE

BAY SUITE: ENTRANCE

BAY SUITE: ENTRANCE

BAY SUITE: LIVING ROOM

BAY SUITE: LIVING ROOM

BAY SUITE: LIVING ROOM

BAY SUITE: LIVING ROOM

BAY SUITE: LIVING ROOM

BAY SUITE: LIVING ROOM

BAY SUITE: LIVING ROOM

BAY SUITE: LIVING ROOM

BAY SUITE: LIVING ROOM

BAY SUITE: LIVING ROOM

BAY SUITE: LIVING ROOM

BAY SUITE: LIVING ROOM

BAY SUITE: LIVING ROOM

BAY SUITE: LIVING ROOM

BAY SUITE: LIVING ROOM

BAY SUITE: LIVING ROOM

BAY SUITE: LIVING ROOM

BAY SUITE: LIVING ROOM

BAY SUITE: TERRACE

BAY SUITE: TERRACE

BAY SUITE: VIEW

BAY SUITE: VIEW

BAY SUITE: BEDROOM

BAY SUITE: BEDROOM

BAY SUITE: BEDROOM

BAY SUITE: BEDROOM

BAY SUITE: BEDROOM

BAY SUITE: BEDROOM

BAY SUITE: DRESSING

BAY SUITE: DRESSING

BAY SUITE: DRESSING

BAY SUITE: DRESSING

BAY SUITE: BATHROOM

BAY SUITE: BATHROOM

BAY SUITE: BATHROOM

BAY SUITE: BATHROOM

BAY SUITE: BATHROOM

BAY SUITE: BATHROOM

BAY SUITE: BATHROOM

BAY SUITE: BATHROOM

BAY SUITE: BATHROOM

BAY SUITE: BATHROOM

BAY SUITE: BATHROOM

BAY SUITE: BATHROOM

BAY SUITE: BATHROOM

BAY SUITE: BATHROOM

BAY SUITE: BATHROOM

BAY SUITE: BATHROOM

COMO SHAMBHALA SPA

COMO SHAMBHALA SPA

COMO SHAMBHALA SPA

COMO SHAMBHALA SPA

COMO SHAMBHALA SPA

COMO SHAMBHALA SPA

COMO SHAMBHALA SPA

COMO SHAMBHALA SPA

COMO SHAMBHALA SPA

COMO SHAMBHALA SPA

COMO SHAMBHALA SPA

COMO SHAMBHALA SPA

COMO SHAMBHALA SPA

COMO SHAMBHALA SPA

COMO SHAMBHALA SPA

COMO SHAMBHALA SPA

COMO SHAMBHALA SPA

COMO SHAMBHALA SPA

COMO SHAMBHALA SPA

COMO SHAMBHALA SPA

COMO SHAMBHALA SPA

COMO SHAMBHALA SPA

LA SIRENA RESTAURANT

LA SIRENA RESTAURANT

LA SIRENA RESTAURANT

LA SIRENA RESTAURANT

LA SIRENA RESTAURANT

LA SIRENA RESTAURANT

LA SIRENA RESTAURANT

LA SIRENA RESTAURANT

LA SIRENA RESTAURANT: TERRACE

LA SIRENA RESTAURANT: TERRACE

LA SIRENA RESTAURANT: TERRACE

LA SIRENA RESTAURANT: TERRACE

LA SIRENA RESTAURANT: TERRACE

LA SIRENA RESTAURANT: TERRACE

LA SIRENA RESTAURANT: TERRACE

LA SIRENA RESTAURANT: TERRACE

LA SIRENA RESTAURANT: DINNER

LA SIRENA RESTAURANT: DINNER

LA SIRENA RESTAURANT: DINNER

LA SIRENA RESTAURANT: DINNER

LA SIRENA RESTAURANT: DINNER

LA SIRENA RESTAURANT: DINNER

LA SIRENA RESTAURANT: DINNER

LA SIRENA RESTAURANT: DINNER

BREAKFAST

BREAKFAST

BREAKFAST

BREAKFAST

BREAKFAST

BREAKFAST

BREAKFAST

BREAKFAST

BREAKFAST

BREAKFAST

BREAKFAST

BREAKFAST

BREAKFAST

BREAKFAST

BREAKFAST

BREAKFAST

BREAKFAST

BREAKFAST

BREAKFAST

BREAKFAST

BREAKFAST

BREAKFAST

BREAKFAST

BREAKFAST

BREAKFAST

BREAKFAST

BREAKFAST

BREAKFAST

BREAKFAST

BREAKFAST

POOL AT NIGHT

POOL AT NIGHT

POOL AT NIGHT

POOL AT NIGHT

POOL AT NIGHT

POOL AT NIGHT

LOBBY AT NIGHT

LOBBY AT NIGHT

LOBBY AT NIGHT

LOBBY AT NIGHT

LOBBY AT NIGHT

LOBBY AT NIGHT

LOBBY AT NIGHT

LOBBY AT NIGHT

LOBBY AT NIGHT

LOBBY AT NIGHT

LOBBY AT NIGHT

LOBBY AT NIGHT

GUEST FLOOR HALLWAY AT NIGHT

GUEST FLOOR HALLWAY AT NIGHT

SUITE AT NIGHT

SUITE AT NIGHT

SUITE AT NIGHT

SUITE AT NIGHT


*** Follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for a daily moment of travel inspiration ***


Top 10: best airport hotels in the world

Monday newsletters always feature top 10 travel lists to inspire.

Today (April 11, 2016): Top 10 most luxurious airport hotels in the world.

Staying overnight at an airport hotel is often considered a necessary evil for business and/or leisure travelers, since these hotels are associated with noisy rooms, terrible service, bad breakfasts, and overpriced rates. However, the last decade has seen the addition of several high-end properties nearby or in airport terminals, changing the art of the layover with a cutting edge design and a new range of luxurious amenities. Here’s my pick of the 10 best airport hotels in the world.

Do you agree or have a favorite airport hotel that didn’t make my list? Leave it in the comments or take my poll below.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

*** Follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for a daily moment of travel inspiration ***


10. DUBAI INTERNATIONAL HOTEL, UAE

Located throughout the Concourses A, B and C of Dubai International Airport, guests have to be in transit to be able to stay at this high-end hotel. Hotel accommodations range from 5 Royal Suites, 56 Junior Suites, 61 Executive Rooms, and 27 Superior Deluxe Rooms to 381 Deluxe Rooms. The higher room categories come with massage chairs, complimentary fruit baskets, chocolates, canapés and fresh juices. Facilities include a fitness centre with steam room, jacuzzi and swimming pool.

DUBAI INTERNATIONAL HOTEL, UAE

DUBAI INTERNATIONAL HOTEL, UAE


9. HILTON MUNICH AIRPORT, GERMANY

The hustle and noise of Munich Airport is quickly forgotten upon entering the Hilton Munich Airport hotel – formerly known as the Kempinski Hotel Airport München – which enjoys a fantastic location between Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 of Munich Airport, with easy access to the airport, city center and Munich attractions via convenient transport links. The 389-room, five-star hotel features a spectacular, light-flooded glass atrium with reception space for 1000 people. The stylish guest rooms or suites have sound-proofed windows and either courtyard or atrium views. There’s also a heated indoor pool, spa and 24-hour fitness center.

HILTON MUNICH AIRPORT, GERMANY

HILTON MUNICH AIRPORT, GERMANY


8. GRAND HYATT DALLAS FORT WORTH AIRPORT, USA

Grand Hyatt DFW offers a modern oasis, perfectly integrated into Dallas Fort Worth Airport International Terminal D. Warm design elements and chic lighting welcome you from the moment you arrive through the doors of this luxury airport hotel. Here, guests can rest on plush Hyatt Grand Beds, revive in deluxe granite baths with separate showers and soaking tubs, and find a sanctuary of serenity in this soundproofed luxury lodging amid the bustle of DFW.

GRAND HYATT DALLAS FORT WORTH AIRPORT, USA

GRAND HYATT DALLAS FORT WORTH AIRPORT, USA


7. YAS VICEROY ABU DHABI, UAE

Located adjacent to Abu Dhabi’s International Airport, Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi sets the standard for exceptional service throughout its 499 impeccable rooms and suites, 11 innovative dining and lounge venues. The hotel enjoys a stunning location – set half on land and half on water, overlooking the Yas Marina and the Yas Marina Circuit (Host of the Formula One Abu Dhabi Grand Prix). The interiors of this Abu Dhabi resort embody a contemporary fusion of elegance and momentum, created with sensuous curves and sleek lines.

YAS VICEROY ABU DHABI, UAE

YAS VICEROY ABU DHABI, UAE


6. CROWN PLAZA CHANGI AIRPORT, SINGAPORE

Designed by multi-award winning Singapore-based architectural firm WOHA Designs, the 320-room Crowne Plaza Changi Airport – located at terminal 3 – reflects a uniquely Singaporean environment: tropical, Asian, multicultural and comfortable yet also efficient, stylish, high-tech and global in outlook. The hotel features open corridors, courtyards and extensive rainforest-style gardens, creating a balmy tropical ambience. The unique architectural style even allows natural light to flow into the guest bathrooms.

CROWN PLAZA CHANGI AIRPORT, SINGAPORE

CROWN PLAZA CHANGI AIRPORT, SINGAPORE


5. REGAL AIRPORT HOTEL, HONG KONG

The Regal Airport Hotel is connected to Hong Kong Airport’s Terminal 1 by an air-conditioned bridge. The hotel provides comfortable accommodations with 1,171 guest rooms as well as state-of-the-art meeting and conference facilities, including Hong Kong’s largest hotel ballroom with a built-in giant high-definition LED wall. Additionally, the hotel features a variety of authentic cuisines at its 6 restaurants and bars, and it has a complete range of recreational facilities, including a luxurious spa, an outdoor pool and an indoor heated swimming pool.

REGAL AIRPORT HOTEL, HONG KONG

REGAL AIRPORT HOTEL, HONG KONG


4. INTERCONTINENTAL JOHANNESBURG O.R.TAMBO AIRPORT, SOUTH AFRICA

South Africa’s only luxury hotel at an airport, the InterContinental Johannesburg O.R Tambo Airport is perfectly and safely located for business and travel. You’ll find many complimentary services such as WiFi, gym, swimming pool and self-help business center. The well-appointed rooms are tastefully decorated with subtle influences of Africa. Spacious showers, comfortable king beds, blackout curtains and soundproofing ensure a night of relaxation. The hotel’s signature dining venue, Quills Bar & Restaurant, is one of the top restaurants near Johannesburg, offering everything from game dishes, to seafood and vegetarian fare.

INTERCONTINENTAL JOHANNESBURG O.R.TAMBO AIRPORT, SOUTH AFRICA

INTERCONTINENTAL JOHANNESBURG O.R.TAMBO AIRPORT, SOUTH AFRICA


3. SOFITEL LONDON HEATHROW, UK

Sofitel London Heathrow is an award-winning Heathrow airport hotel that combines luxurious comfort and futurist architecture with a convenient location in the world’s busiest airport. The hotel is connected to Heathrow Terminal 5 via a walkway, to other terminals via free inter-terminal transfers, and to central London by a 21-minute express train. Here, guests experience a cosmopolitan ambiance and a new art of travel inspired by French art de vivre and culinary flair, with refined gastronomy and a pampering spa.

SOFITEL LONDON HEATHROW, UK

SOFITEL LONDON HEATHROW, UK


2. LANGHAM PLACE, BEIJING CAPITAL AIRPORT, CHINA

Neighbouring the Sir Norman Foster-designed Terminal 3, Langham Place, Beijing Capital Airport is regarded as perfect combinations of fashion, art and luxury lifestyle. The 372 spacious guest rooms, including several lofts, townhouses and one ultra-luxurious penthouse, are appointed with signature “Blissful Beds”, oversized bathrooms and gadgets galore. Exciting dining options include an expansive buffet selection at The Place, the sibling of the Michelin-starred Hong Kong Chinese restaurant at Ming Court, a garden terrace experience at Fuel, and the vibrant Portal—Work & Play offering a space for every mood.

LANGHAM PLACE, BEIJING CAPITAL AIRPORT, CHINA

LANGHAM PLACE, BEIJING CAPITAL AIRPORT, CHINA


1. FAIRMONT VANCOUVER AIRPORT, CANADA

Fairmont Vancouver Airport is the only soundproofed, luxury hotel and spa conveniently located within Vancouver’s International Airport. Situated directly above the US departures terminal, the hotel is only a two-minute stroll from the luggage carousels. Recently voted the #1 airport hotel in North America for the third year in a row at the Skytrax World Airport Awards, this AAA / CAA 4-diamond Vancouver airport luxury hotel features breathtaking floor-to-ceiling views, diverse dining choices and an indoor pool, health club and spa.

FAIRMONT VANCOUVER AIRPORT, CANADA

FAIRMONT VANCOUVER AIRPORT, CANADA


*** Follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for a daily moment of travel inspiration ***


Take Our Poll


Hotel review: Andaz 5th Avenue, New York (USA)

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

Today (April 6, 2016): Review of the Andaz 5th Avenue, New York (USA). 

Andaz 5th Avenue is a chic boutique hotel in Midtown Manhattan that is quintessential New York City and the perfect place to express your personal style. Manhattan is all about reinvention; and this hotel’s philosophy is that you should be a little different. True to the Andaz concept, Andaz 5th Avenue offers uncomplicated and natural service by people who are passionate about your experience at one of the most unique hotels in New York City. The hotel belongs to the portfolio of the Hyatt Hotel Group.

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

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

*** Follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for a daily moment of travel inspiration ***


PROS & THINGS I LIKE
  • The hotel enjoys a super-central location in the Big Apple, one the best of all hotels in Manhattan. Located in a corner building on 5th Avenue at 41st Street in midtown Manhattan, the hotel is directly across the street from the main branch of the New York Public Library, one of the city’s grand landmarks. The hotel is within walking distance to iconic New York attractions, like Times Square, Grand Central Station, the Empire State Building, the Theater District, the Rockefeller Center, and the fashionable 5th Avenue shopping. It’s only a 2 minute walk to the 42nd Street – Bryant Park/Fifth Avenue subway station.
  • The hotel’s 485 Fifth Avenue location has a storied history in fashion and retail. Built during the great era of Manhattan department stores, it was the largest and last of the Rogers, Peet & Co. department stores, later becoming the Tommy Hilfiger global headquarters before its transformation into the Andaz 5th Avenue hotel.
  • The discrete and somewhat unremarkable entrance to the hotel is marked by bronze-colored doors and located on 41st Street, between 5th Avenue and Madison Avenue. Once inside, guests are welcomed in the hotel lobby’s trendy decor, which was created renowned designer Tony Chi and feels more like an upscale lounge than the transactional center of a hotel. Natural materials such as black- and white-washed poplar and rich grey basalt provide a counterpoint to the sheen of white lacquer finishes and marquis lighting. In playful contrast, a striking 14-foot vermillion painting by Carlos Capelán and a Nick Hornby sculpture represent the dynamic energy of New York City.
  • The Andaz 5th Avenue has its own intimate library nook on the ground level, adjacent to the lobby, where a rotating collection of titles is on display.
  • The hotel has a rather non-traditional check-in procedure since it lacks a traditional front desk. Upon entering the hotel, you are met by one of the e-tablet-wielding staf members (called “Andaz hosts”) who circulate around the lobby. The host greets you with a glass of wine or a refreshing beverage, completes the check-in on a an iPad, and then escorts you to your guest room.
  • Students from the High School of Art and Design have painted original art in the hallways to inspire guests during their stay in this funky New York hotel.
  • The 184 loft-like guestrooms complement the hotel’s unique design elements and are reminiscent of apartments in pre-war New York. These are some of the largest hotel rooms in New York City, starting from 322 square feet. During my visit, I stayed in a very spacious loft suite, which featured a separate living room (with dining corner) in addition to the bedroom. Featuring a minimalist, contemporary design (without being desperately hip), the suite had all modern conveniences one could wish and bedding was superb! Light fixtures reminiscent of pre-war subway lanterns, steel-blue wall colors, black poplar shutter doors, and floor-to-ceiling windows with views of 5th Avenue created the ultimate loft ambience.
  • Black-washed poplar shutters enclose the guestroom’s oversized bathrooms that are lined in polished travertine marble with rainfall shower heads, dual sinks, and amenities from legendary New York apothecary C.O. Bigelow. Each room has a black porcelain footbath in the shower area with a spout dedicated to filling it, perfect for relaxing feet that have spent hours pounding the pavement of one of the world’s best walking cities.
  • Guests of the hotel can enjoy mini-bars stocked with snacks and non-alcoholic drinks, all free of charge and replenished daily.
  • Wireless internet is complimentary as well as calls to local area codes.
  • Evoking an intimate and entertaining vibe, the Shop at Andaz 5th Avenue is a neighborhood-centric restaurant serving delicious, simple foods that change with what’s at the height of the season. The Shop offers fresh, local cuisine in a chic, casual atmosphere, with great views of 5th Avenue. The menu features ingredients that are sourced from New York State farms and local purveyors such as Katz’s Delicatessen, Sullivan Street Bakery, and the Pickle Guys – all the places that New Yorkers try to keep secret. In case you’re not very hungry or feel more like a dining experience on-the-go, the Shop retail offers freshly made soups, sandwiches and pastries brought in from local Manhattan purveyors.
  • For a change of pace, you can ease into the bar downstairs. The sleek and sophisticated hotel bar serves small-batch liquors and a carefully curated selection of wines by the glass, along with small and medium plates to share.
  • Besides the bar, there’s also a small but excellent, 24 hour gym in the hotel’s basement, equipped with LCD virtual trainers and iPod connectivity.
  • The Andaz hosts are gracious and able to help with any guest wishes within the hotel, and are always ready with local insider tips.
  • The Andaz 5th Avenue has very reasonable room rates, despite being one of the best rated and located hotels in the heart of New York. I paid $250 USD per night for a stay in October, taxes inclusive, making use of a BRG claim (more on that below in my ‘tips to save money’).

CONS & THINGS TO KNOW

This is by no means one of New York’s most luxurious property and it does not pretend to be one. It feels more like an excellent 4-star hotel rather than a ultra-luxe 5 star hotel. Yet, it’s one of my favorite Big Apple hotels because of its superb location, very spacious rooms, and the remarkably decent rates for a Midtown Manhattan luxury hotel. There’s just some minor things you need to know when considering a stay here:

  • Not all rooms come with a view. Those on the lower floors look out onto the surrounding skyscrapers.
  • This is probably my strangest complaint ever but the temperature in the hotel’s hallways was freezlingly cold.
  • While the food at The Shop at Andaz 5th Avenue was great, I felt there was a sense of arrogance when I interacted with restaurant staff, which was not in line with the excellent service provided by the front desk teams, the management, and the housekeeping staff.

MY VERDICT
  • Location: 9/10
  • Design: 8/10
  • Rooms: 8/10
  • Food: 8/10
  • Service: 8/10
  • Overall experience: very good: 8,4/10

TIPS FOR FUTURE GUESTS & SAVE MONEY
  • Save money: read my tips for getting the best deal at a luxury hotel like the Andaz 5th Avenue.
  • Save money: Make use of Hyatt’s best rate guarantee to discount the cheapest room rate by a further 20%.
  • Elite members of Hyatt’s loyalty program, World of Hyatt, are well treated, with – amongst other benefits – complimentary room upgrade (when available), early check-in or late check-out  (when available), and free breakfast. Click here to read my review of the World of Hyatt program (with pros & cons).
  • Request a room on a higher floor if you don’t want to be disturbed by street noise.
  • Read my tips for preparing your trip in time.

BEST TIME TO VISIT NEW YORK

Anytime! Each season in Gotham offers visitors plenty of reasons to visit. Early fall offers crisp breezes, bright sun and comfortable temperatures (indian summer) , and may the best time for a visit.  Winter can be cold, but that also means better hotel rates. Spring is glorious and New Yorkers celebrate the thaw by taking to the streets, shopping at outdoor markets, frolicking in Central Park and dining outside. Summer can be unbearable hot, so try to avoid July and August.


HOW TO GET THERE

For those coming by plane, New York City is served by 3 airports:

  • John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) is the primary international airport serving the greater New York City area. Check the Wikipedia page of JFK Airport for an updated list of airlines that have direct flights to this airport. 
  • Newark International Airport (EWR), located in the state of New Jersey, is about 15 miles (24 km) southwest of Manhattan. Check the Wikipedia page of Newark Airport for tan updated list of airlines that have direct flights to this airport. 
  • LaGuardia Airport (LGA), located in the borough Queens, is the busiest airport in the United States without any non-stop service to Europe. Check the Wikipedia page of LaGuardia Airport for an updated list of on airlines that have direct flights to this airport. 

THE HOTEL IS LOCATED ACROSS THE STREET FROM THE NYC PUBLIC LIBRARY

THE HOTEL IS LOCATED ACROSS THE STREET FROM THE NYC PUBLIC LIBRARY

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL ENTRANCE

HOTEL ENTRANCE

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY: LIBRARY CORNER

LOBBY: LIBRARY CORNER

LOBBY: LIBRARY CORNER

LOBBY: LIBRARY CORNER

LOBBY: LIBRARY CORNER

LOBBY: LIBRARY CORNER

LOBBY: LIBRARY CORNER

LOBBY: LIBRARY CORNER

LOBBY: MURALS BY CARLOS CAPELAN

LOBBY: MURALS BY CARLOS CAPELAN

LOBBY: MURALS BY CARLOS CAPELAN

LOBBY: MURALS BY CARLOS CAPELAN

LOBBY: MURALS BY CARLOS CAPELAN

LOBBY: MURALS BY CARLOS CAPELAN

GUESTROOM HALLWAY

GUESTROOM HALLWAY

GUESTROOM HALLWAY

GUESTROOM HALLWAY

GUESTROOM HALLWAY

GUESTROOM HALLWAY

GUESTROOM HALLWAY

GUESTROOM HALLWAY

LOFT SUITE

LOFT SUITE

LOFT SUITE

LOFT SUITE

LOFT SUITE

LOFT SUITE

LOFT SUITE

LOFT SUITE

LOFT SUITE

LOFT SUITE

LOFT SUITE

LOFT SUITE

LOFT SUITE

LOFT SUITE

LOFT SUITE

LOFT SUITE

LOFT SUITE

LOFT SUITE

LOFT SUITE

LOFT SUITE

LOFT SUITE AT NIGHT

LOFT SUITE AT NIGHT

LOFT SUITE AT NIGHT: VIEW

LOFT SUITE AT NIGHT: VIEW

LOFT SUITE AT NIGHT

LOFT SUITE AT NIGHT

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALOFT SUITE AT NIGHT

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALOFT SUITE AT NIGHT

LOFT SUITE AT NIGHT

LOFT SUITE AT NIGHT

LOFT SUITE AT NIGHT

LOFT SUITE AT NIGHT

LOFT SUITE AT NIGHT

LOFT SUITE AT NIGHT

LOFT SUITE AT NIGHT

LOFT SUITE AT NIGHT

LOFT SUITE AT NIGHT

LOFT SUITE AT NIGHT

LOFT SUITE AT NIGHT

LOFT SUITE AT NIGHT

LOFT SUITE AT NIGHT

LOFT SUITE AT NIGHT

LOFT SUITE AT NIGHT

LOFT SUITE AT NIGHT

LOFT SUITE AT NIGHT

LOFT SUITE AT NIGHT

LOFT SUITE AT NIGHT

LOFT SUITE AT NIGHT

LOFT SUITE AT NIGHT

LOFT SUITE AT NIGHT

GYM

GYM

THE SHOP AT ANDAZ 5TH AVENUE

THE SHOP AT ANDAZ 5TH AVENUE

THE SHOP AT ANDAZ 5TH AVENUE: DINNER

THE SHOP AT ANDAZ 5TH AVENUE: DINNER

THE SHOP AT ANDAZ 5TH AVENUE: DINNER

THE SHOP AT ANDAZ 5TH AVENUE: DINNER

THE SHOP AT ANDAZ 5TH AVENUE: DINNER

THE SHOP AT ANDAZ 5TH AVENUE: DINNER


*** Follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for a daily moment of travel inspiration ***


Top 10: Africa’s most insanely beautiful safari lodges

Monday newsletters always feature top 10 travel lists to inspire.

Today (April 4, 2016): Top 10 most luxurious safari lodges in Africa.

Africa offers some of the best wildlife viewing opportunities in the world. The “Big Five” (lion, elephant, rhino, buffalo, and the elusive leopard) take the center stage on a safari but the smaller, less glamorous animals (like impalas, zebras and hyenas) can be just as fun and exciting to see. When it comes to safaris, nothing can beat the observation of the Great Migration in Tanzania’s Serengeti or Kenya’s Masai Mara. Other great safari destinations are the Okavango Delta in Botswana and Kruger National Park in South Africa. No wonder that Africa’s 10 most luxurious safari lodges are all located within these areas. The majority of them is operated by the 3 most luxurious safari companies on the continent: &Beyond, Wilderness Safaris and Singita.

Do you agree or have a favorite safari lodge that didn’t make my list? Leave it in the comments or take my poll below.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

*** Follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for a daily moment of travel inspiration ***


10. &BEYOND NGORONGORO CRATER LODGE, TANZANIA

This lodge is located right on the rim of the ancient volcanic Ngorongoro caldera, offering not only some of the best views in Africa, but also the possibility of a classic Big 5 safari as the crater floor is teaming with wildlife. Room interiors are reminiscent of an elegant baroque château (brocade sofas, gilt mirrors, beaded chandeliers and paneled walls). Ensuite bathrooms with a centrepiece of fresh roses feature huge showers and chandelier-lit bathtubs, while floor-to-ceiling windows ensure breath-taking views from all around of the incredible game-rich Crater. Versailles meets Masai in this unique African lodge!

NGORONGORO CRATER LODGE, TANZANIA

NGORONGORO CRATER LODGE, TANZANIA


9. LITTLE KULALA,NAMIBIA

Little Kulala is situated in the private Kulala Wilderness Reserve and consists of 11 climate-controlled, thatched “kulalas” (the word means ‘to sleep’) which merge impeccably into the desert landscape, each with private plunge pool. An elegant entertainment area includes a library, wine cellar, craft boutique, lounge and dining areas. Little Kulala’s interiors make use of neutral colours, gorgeous textures and natural light, and takes its inspiration from its surroundings, notably from the magnificent Dead Vlei. Desert-adapted wildlife such as ostrich, springbok and gemsbok eke out an existence and are sparsely distributed around Little Kulala. Larger carnivores, namely spotted and brown hyena and even cheetah are occasionally present.

LITTLE KUALA, NAMIBIA

LITTLE KUALA, NAMIBIA


8. SINGITA LEBOMBO LODGE, SOUTH AFRICA

Like a collection of eagles’ nests perched along the rugged cliff faces above the N’wanetsi River, Singita Lebombo Lodge looks out regally across the landscape. This boldly dramatic lodge, home to fifteen loft-style suites, is situated on Singita’s private concession in the Kruger National Park. The exclusive concession is a richly diverse habitat, teeming with game, beneath endless African skies. Imaginative wood, steel and organic interiors, all encased in glass, create a stylishly contemporary feel in the suites and make the most of the astonishing views overlooking the river.

SINGITA LEBOMBO LODGE, SOUTH AFRICA

SINGITA LEBOMBO LODGE, SOUTH AFRICA


7. CHIEF’S CAMP, BOTSWANA

Named after Chief Moremi, Sanctuary Chief’s Camp is located in the world-renowned Moremi Game Reserve. The camp is ideal for an exciting African safari due to the vast numbers of animals that congregate all year round. Chief’s Island is one of the many islands created by the seasonal flood waters of the Okavango Delta and is well-known for the finest game viewing in Southern Africa, including both black and white rhino completing the Big Five. Sanctuary Chief’s Camp has twelve luxury bush pavilions, all with their own private decks as well as both indoor and outdoor showers. The split-level main deck offers expansive views over the floodplain while the dining area surrounds a fire pit on the very edge of the Piajio plains.

CHIEF'S CAMP, BOTSWANA

CHIEF’S CAMP, BOTSWANA


6. SINGITA FARU FARU LODGE, TANZANIA

Singita Faru Faru Lodge is set in Grumeti in northern Tanzania, which is part of the Serengeti Mara ecosystem. Built on a gently sloping hill, this riverine lodge, positioned on the renowned migratory route traversed annually by more than 2 million wildebeests, is a place where you can quite literally expect the unexpected. Informal, unconventional and surprising at every turn, Singita Faru Faru Lodge has 7 one-bedroom suites, one family suite as well as one two-bedroom suite with private pool and is a mix of contemporary, organic style and the quirky practicality of a traditional botanist’s camp. With such close proximity to the river and plains, guests have the unique opportunity to experience a very close connection with the wilderness.

SINGITA FARU FARU LODGE, TANZANIA

SINGITA FARU FARU LODGE, TANZANIA


5. ROYAL MALEWANE, SOUTH AFRICA

Situated on a private reserve within the Greater Kruger National Park in South Africa, this famous safari lodge hosts a maximum of 20 guests in utopian luxury and style, and is popular amongst celebrities such as Nicolas Sarkozy, Bono and Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen. Six suites with private infinity pools offer complete seclusion and stunning views, while the lodge itself has an atmospheric air-conditioned library, curio shop and dining and sitting areas with fantastic outlooks onto the bush. Two completely private suites (both sleeping 4) provide an even more exclusive safari experience, while the self-contained Africa House, a few minutes’ drive from the main lodge, is the perfect option for families or groups of up to 12.


4. ABU CAMP, BOTSWANA

Named after a very special bull elephant, Abu Camp is set in a pristine pocket of riverine forest and blends in seamlessly with the magnificent surrounding hardwood trees. Looking out over a large lagoon, an imaginative use of canvas has created a unique and luxurious style of tent. Each of the six en-suite units has its own distinctive furnishings and fittings, imparting an air of opulence in the bush. These airy tents feature an indoor and outdoor shower, an outdoor copper bath and a generous elevated teak deck. Well-lit pathways link the guest tents with the main lounge and dining area and a well-stocked library and study, gym and swimming pool will keep you entertained while at camp. Exploring the bush is done by game drive, mekoro, walks – or by elephant!

ABU CAMP, BOTSWANA

ABU CAMP, BOTSWANA


3. MOMBO AND LITTLE MOMBO CAMP, BOTSWANA

Mombo Camp, situated in the northern point of wildlife-filled Chief’s Island in the Okavango Delta, is built under large, shady trees overlooking a floodplain generally filled with life. Its nine spacious en-suite tents are raised two metres from the ground, with a long veranda, a sala and indoor and outdoor showers. Mombo Camp’s main living, bar and dining areas are under thatch, while the boma adds traditional flavour to a delicious dinner under the stars. There are two plunge pools in which to soak and a gym to work off the excellent food. Little Mombo, situated on Chief’s Island, is a smaller and more intimate camp to its sister and has its own dining and lounge area and sparkling pool.

MOMBO AND LITTLE MOMBO CAMP, BOTSWANA

MOMBO AND LITTLE MOMBO CAMP, BOTSWANA


2. SINGITA BOULDERS LODGE, SOUTH AFRICA

Singita Boulders Lodge is set along the banks of the Sand River in Singita’s privately owned reserve within the Sabi Sand Reserve, adjacent to the Kruger National Park in South Africa. Spanning more than 45,000 acres, Singita Sabi Sand is renowned for high concentrations of big game and frequent leopard sightings. The lodge has 10 one-bedroom suites and  2 two-bedroom family suites, all with private pool, and  is a celebration of the tranquillity, space, and light which flows throughout this incredibly vast area. Inspired by the geometry of the boulders on which it rests, Boulders Lodge is an inviting oasis where organic interiors integrate seamlessly with the raw African beauty outside.

SINGITA BOULDERS LODGE, SOUTH AFRICA

SINGITA BOULDERS LODGE, SOUTH AFRICA


1. IVORY LODGE LION SANDS, SOUTH AFRICA

Experience the African Bushveld in lavish comfort and style like only few will. “Unparalleled and extraordinarily beautiful in its simplicity and texture” is how Ivory Lodge has been described, and it has been recognised with various international awards. Each of the 6 suites is surrounded by untamed African Bush and are operated as a private villa. They all  include a private rim flow pool, exquisitely appointed bedroom and lounge, and simply more of everything. For the more adventurous, a once in a lifetime experience and the ultimate African bush experience, you may want to opt to stay at one of the ultraluxurious treehouses operated by the same management of Ivory Lodge in the same wildlife reserve.


*** Follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for a daily moment of travel inspiration ***


Take Our Poll

Travel news: last month (March 2016) in luxury travel

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

Today (April 1, 2016): March luxury travel news.

Every last Friday of the month, you can read my news round-up of what’s happening in the world of luxury travel. However, due to the Brussels terror attack and my thoughts on these horrific events last week, I postponed the March newsletter by one week. In this issue:

  • Hyatt launches a new luxury brand
  • The Grand Hyatt Rio De Janeiro debuts
  • The Langham Hotel Group expands its USA portfolio
  • Rosewood Papagayo in Costa Rica to open in 2019
  • Emirates reveils ‘new’ Business Class seat
  • The St Regis Langkawi is now open
  • Starwood Hotels announces groundbreaking expansion to Cuba
  • Malaysia Airlines launches new A330 Business Class seats
  • Brussels Airlines presents its unique Magritte aircraft
  • Hawaiian to complete first A330 cabin overhaul this spring

1. Hyatt launches a new luxury brand

The Hyatt Hotel Group announced the launch of The Unbound Collection by Hyatt, a global collection of unique and independent stay experiences. The Unbound Collection by Hyatt will include a portfolio of new and existing luxury properties that will maintain a distinct character while providing guests and owners Hyatt’s award-winning customer loyalty program, robust operational and marketing resources and trusted, quality brand. The properties within The Unbound Collection by Hyatt – which will include historic urban gems, contemporary trend-setters, boutique hotels, resorts, and more – will have their own individual brand identities, free from constraint or convention. At the same time, the brand will provide guests the freedom from worry by giving them the high-quality that comes with the Hyatt brand. So far, the Unbound Collection by Hyatt comprises a few properties around the world, including The Driskill Hotel in Austin, Texas; The Hôtel du Louvre in Paris, France; the Carmelo Resort & Spa in Carmelo, Uruguay; the Coco Palms Resort in Kauai, Hawaii; and the Thompson Miami Beach hotel.

THE THOMPSON MIAMI WILL BECOME PART OF THE UNBOUND COLLECTION BY HYATT

THE THOMPSON MIAMI WILL BECOME PART OF THE UNBOUND COLLECTION BY HYATT


2. The Grand Hyatt Rio De Janeiro debuts

There is some more exciting news from Hyatt as it opened its Grand Hyatt Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. The 436 room hotel combines the brand’s effortless luxury experience with a Brazilian design and hospitality in an urban resort setting. Guests can enjoy its prime beachfront location in the exclusive Barra da Tijuca neighborhood and access to world-class shopping, dining, cultural and outdoor activities. As the second Grand Hyatt hotel in Brazil, Grand Hyatt Rio de Janeiro is a significant addition to Hyatt’s existing portfolio in South America and the growing brand portfolio. The hotel is meticulously designed to exemplify the Grand Hyatt brand’s signature level of grandeur with an abundance of options for creating spectacular experiences. Every aspect of the hotel, from simple delights to elaborate gatherings, embodies the brand mantra of Living Grand, an expression of the ways in which Grand Hyatt hotels deliver extraordinary experiences and infuse care into every encounter.

GRAND HYATT RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL

GRAND HYATT RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL


3. The Langham Hotel Group expands its USA portfolio

Langham Hotels & Resorts, the marquee luxury brand of Hong Kong-based Langham Hospitality Group, will manage three new hotels in the continental United States: Langham Place, Wade Park in Frisco, Texas; Langham Place, San Francisco; The Langham, Bishop’s Lodge Santa Fe in New Mexico. “We have chosen three exciting destinations in the U.S. in which to expand the Langham Hotels and Resorts portfolio,” says Robert Warman, CEO of Langham Hospitality Group. “Thanks to our successful hotels in the U.S., as well as our celebrated locations in London, Sydney, Hong Kong and Shanghai, our brand awareness among luxury travelers has never been stronger.”. All three hotels will be part of the established Langham Hotels and Resorts brand, the luxury hotel tier of Langham Hospitality Group, representing two styles – The Langham, which represents classic elegance and traditional decor; and the more modern, contemporary Langham Place. All the hotels will offer five-star service and the brand identifiers with which Langham has become synonymous – destination restaurants and bars, full-service spas and luxurious accommodations. I have previously reviewed the superb Langham Place New York and Langham Chicago.

THE LANGHAM, BISHOP'S LODGE SANTA FE, USA

THE LANGHAM, BISHOP’S LODGE SANTA FE, USA


4. Rosewood Papagayo, Costa Rica to open in 2019

Rosewood Hotels & Resorts – one of my favorite luxury hotel brands – announced the Rosewood Papagayo, Costa Rica, which is scheduled to open in 2019.   This luxury retreat will be situated on the northwest coast of Costa Rica within the province of Guanacaste which is renowned for its tropical forests, diverse wildlife and picturesque beaches. Located just 20 minutes’ drive from Liberia International Airport, the resort will be nestled into the hillside which gently cascades down to a golden-sand beach and the azure waters of the Pacific Ocean. Guests will enjoy panoramic views over the surrounding jungle canopy and the Gulf of Papagayo. Situated within a forested setting, the resort will offer 130 guestrooms and suites in addition to 50 residences.  The accommodations are designed to make the most of the natural surroundings, with features such as open-air living rooms, large terraces and plunge pools. The resort will have direct beach access and two swimming pools in addition to a fitness center and the brand’s signature Sense, A Rosewood Spa.  Dining options will include a poolside bar and grill, a restaurant offering informal all-day dining, a bar and a speciality restaurant.  The resort will also offer a total of nearly 1,100 square meters of event space including a ballroom with a large outdoor terrace.

ROSEWOOD PAPAGAYO, COSTA RICA

ROSEWOOD PAPAGAYO, COSTA RICA


5. Emirates reveals ‘new’ Business Class product

Emirates‘ brand new Boeing 777 Business Class seat has been showcased for the very first time at ITB Berlin (Internationale Tourismus-Börse Berlin), the world’s largest tourism trade fair. In fact, it’s not that new at all, but rather an update of the existing seat design. The newly enhanced seat features additional amenities like a conveniently located mini-bar and the latest touchscreen controller, allowing the seat to be electrically converted into a comfortable, flat sleeping position. The fully-functioning seat also has one of the industry’s largest personal TV screens at 23 inches, offering high quality viewing experience with Emirates‘ award-winning ice inflight entertainment. Unfortunately, Emirates will retain its current seat layout of 2-3-2 across its Boeing 777 Business Class cabins (who wants to sit in the middle seat?). The new seat is set to make its commercial debut on Emirates’ 170th Boeing 777 aircraft, a -300ER version which the airline expects to receive in November 2016. I have previously published a trip report about my experience in Emirates B777 Business Class, which you read here.

EMIRATES NEW BUSINESS CLASS SEATS FOR ITS B777 FLEET

EMIRATES NEW BUSINESS CLASS SEATS FOR ITS B777 FLEET


6. The St Regis Langkawi is now open

Officially, it’s only opening on April 6th, but the resort has been accepting guests for a few weeks now. The St Regis Langkawi is situated in an idyllic cove in the south of Langkawi, the first five-star hotel to launch on the Malaysian island in almost a decade. With input from San Francisco-based architectural firm Gensler and Bangkok-based landscape architect Bill Bensley, the St Regis Langkawi Resort overlooks a private white-sand beach fringing the Andaman Sea. It features 85 suites, including 20 pool suites, and four overwater villas, each boasting a spectacular view of the Straits of Malacca. All guestroom feature the signature St. Regis Butler service with around-the-clock customised service, anticipating each guest’s every need. The hotel is close to Kuah town, Langkawi’s shopping and commercial centre, and is approximately a 20-minute drive from Langkawi International Airport. Resort amenities include a swimming pool, gym and function space, with access to expanded meeting facilities at the ultra-modern Langkawi International Convention Centre.

ST REGIS LANGKAWI, MALAYSIA

ST REGIS LANGKAWI, MALAYSIA


7. Starwood Hotels and Resorts announces groundbreaking expansion to Cuba

According to Reuters, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. signed three new hotel deals in Cuba last month, marking the first U.S. based hospitality company to enter the market in nearly 60 years. This announcement follows receipt of authorization from the U.S. Treasury Department for Starwood to operate hotels in Cuba. Long-time Havana icon, Hotel Inglaterra, will join The Luxury Collection and Hotel Quinta Avenida will become a Four Points by Sheraton. Both hotels will undergo renovations before raising their new brand flags later in 2016. The Company also announced that it has signed a Letter of Intent to convert the famed Hotel Santa Isabel into a member of The Luxury Collection. Thomas B. Mangas, Starwood’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “Starwood’s history of creativity, innovation, sustainability and being a first mover is core to who we are and what has made us a formidable competitor in the industry with a long, global lead. I am proud of our team who worked tirelessly to make today possible. With Cuba’s rich history, natural beauty and strong culture, there is no question the entire U.S. hospitality industry has watched Cuba with great interest, and we are thrilled to lead the charge and bring our sophisticated, high-end brands into the market at this inflection point”.

HOTEL INGLATERRA, CUBA

HOTEL INGLATERRA, CUBA


8. Malaysia Airlines launches new A330 Business Class seats

Malaysia Airlines unveiled its first A330-300 aircraft fitted with the new Business Class seats. The Business Class seat pitch, which measures at 44 inches with a width of 20 inches and length of 76 inches (fully flat), is one of the best received business class seats in the industry. The seats come with increased working space with 90% of all seats having direct aisle access due to the 1-2-1 and 1-2-2 seat layout, with extra stowage space for personal items. Each seat is equipped with a 16-inch touch screen in-flight entertainment system. Every aspect of the new product has been carefully designed with the passenger’s comfort and needs in mind. The Business Class cabin refurbishment will be carried out in stages on all 15 of Malaysia Airlines’ A330 aircraft by September 2016. The new Business Class seats are available on Malaysia Airlines’ A330 flights between Kuala Lumpur and Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Korea, China and India from March 2016 onwards. The newly configured A330 will have 27 all new Business Class seats and 263 Economy Class seats.


9. Brussels Airlines presents unique Magritte aircraft

Brussels Airlines presented its long-awaited Magritte aircraft, a flying piece of art, dedicated to the famous Belgian artist René Magritte. Following in the footsteps of Rackham, the Tintin aircraft that the Belgian airline unveiled last year, “Magritte” is the second aircraft in a series of Brussels Airlines planes with a special design, inspired by Belgian icons. The plane, an Airbus A320 baptized Magritte, is a 37m long flying piece of art that has come to life thanks to a close cooperation between Brussels Airlines and the Foundation Magritte, the organization that safeguards René Magritte’s oeuvre. On the outside, the design incorporates two of Magritte’s paintings, La Clairvoyance (1936) and Le Retour (1940). The cabin interior has undergone a surrealist makeover as well and features a flock of cloud-filled birds, taken from Le Retour (1940) and als the work La Belle-Société (1965-66), which features the famous man in the bowler hat. The design of the aircraft was created by three young Belgian designers, working in the Brussels Airlines marketing team. The painting of the aircraft was realized by airbrush artist Andre Eisele, who previously had also worked on Rackham. He had the challenging task to translate the Magritte design onto an aircraft fuselage. The entire paint job took place in the painting facilities of Eirtech in Ostrava, Czech Republic.


10. Hawaiian to complete first A330 cabin overhaul this spring

Hawaiian Airlines intends to complete its first Airbus A330 cabin overhaul this spring, with the entire fleet expected to be updated by mid-2017. Speaking with Flightglobal in Washington DC, HAWAIIAN'S A330 NEW FIRST CLASS SEAT

HAWAIIAN’S A330 NEW FIRST CLASS SEAT


*** Follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for a daily moment of travel inspiration ***