On the Ground: With virtually no wait in the designated check-in line for Premium Voyageur passengers, we were quickly assisted by pleasant and efficient agents. We happily checked our bags with their priority tags attached, passed quickly through the designated security line and made our way to L’Espace Lounge.
The small lounge offers separate zones (but not individual rooms) for dining, television watching or going online. Minimalist in design and slightly worn but clean, the room had large windows covered by opaque shades, which let in natural light and screened out the rooftop view of ducts and air-conditioning units. Leather club chairs with adjoining side tables and lamps and ample electrical outlets provided comfortable seating as I powered up my laptop to access the free WiFi. My husband checked out the three workstations and reported that one computer wasn’t functioning and the rest were frustratingly slow.
Although we arrived just before 1 p.m. and were hoping to find lunch items, food offerings were limited to prepackaged snacks and small rounds of cheese. A little later, a few small sandwiches were set out — and depleted before I got to them. A good selection of sodas, soft drinks and bottled water were augmented by a self-service station of wines, Champagne and liquors. The boarding announcement informed us of the time required to get to our gate — very helpful.
Pre-flight: We boarded through a separate entrance but still found ourselves seated aft of the economy-class doorway, delaying attendant service. Our seats were stocked with an amenity kit (ear plugs, eye shade, toothbrush, comb, shoe horn, moisturizer, headphone covers, socks and a shoe bag), blanket, pillow and bottled water. Each also featured a USB port and electrical outlet, reading lamp, headphones and spaces for stowing personal gear. Once boarding was completed, we were offered Champagne, juice and a selection of newspapers.
In-flight: Our dinner service — on white linen and china — began with an amuse-bouche of quail with chestnuts and cranberry preserves (and more Champagne) and proceeded to a delicious smoked duck and scallop flan appetizer and seasonal salad. The only disappointment here was the cold and rather dry rolls offered. Three entrées (including a vegetarian option) plus a special chicken dish were available; we both enjoyed the tournedos of beef in shallot sauce with two delicious red wine blends. A cheese plate (delectable brie and camembert at perfect room temperature) was followed by a trio of miniature desserts and a choice of coffee, tea or an assortment of after-dinner liqueurs.
Cabin lights dimmed, and after sampling the abundant entertainment on the AVOD system (movies, TV series, games, music), I reclined my seat into its self-contained shell and raised the footrest to achieve a not-flat-but-nevertheless-comfortable position for several hours of rest. I’ve found most cabins to be quite cool and prefer them so for sleeping, but on this flight I was actually too warm. Breakfast, served about 90 minutes before we reached Paris, began with fresh fruit (the sweetest, juiciest pineapple I’ve had in a long time), yogurt and pastries and concluded with a choice of omelet and hash browns, blueberry crêpes or a cold plate of preserved meats and cheeses. I enjoyed the crêpes while my husband, the last to be served, had to accept the cold plate (and the front of the plane was not full — disappointing). Not being coffee drinkers, we both found the hot chocolate — thick, creamy and rich — extremely satisfying.
The Experience: This was my first flight on Air France and one I would gladly repeat. The comfortable seat, fine service and delectable food and wine made the nearly 11-hour flight a pleasant one.
- Less than 10 minutes for check-in
- Friendly and helpful agents
- Priority tagged bags
- Airport lounge
- Complimentary in-lounge food and beverages
- Priority boarding
- Helpful and courteous in-flight staff
- Pre-flight beverage service
- Pre-flight newspapers and magazines
- Amenity kits
- Lie-flat seat/bed
- Mattress pad and comforter
- In-flight menu offering choice of three entrées
- Top-shelf wines and liquors
Once you’ve boarded Regent’s Seven Seas Grandeur, it is immediately apparent this recently launched cruise ship delivers what the name promises. Jewel box opulence dominates in most of the public areas, while quiet luxury teamed with clever function defines the cabins (save for the individually decorated top-tier suites). The ship, designed by internationally acclaimed Studio DADO and constructed by Ancona, Italy, ship builder Fincantieri, holds up to 746 guests and is serviced by a staff of 548 for optimal passenger-to-staff service.
The St. Regis San Francisco recently debuted a Lunar New Year-themed The Art of Tea to celebrate the Year of the Dragon. Available for only a few more days, through Feb. 25, the afternoon menu boasts Asian-inspired sweet and savory items, a selection of tea and a complimentary welcome toast with Champgane Lallier R.018.
Don’t risk losing all the money you’ve spent if you must cancel your trip at the last minute. Allianz Travel Insurance can give you:
After a stressful pre-holiday season and a busy work schedule, there was no better time for a relaxing spa experience than during my recent trip to Pasadena with the FXExpress Publications, Inc. team. We headed to The Langham Huntington, Pasadena for the 20th anniversary of the GT Tested Reader Survey awards, which meant a jam-packed trip, but I managed to carve a little time out of our busy schedule to visit Chuan Spa at the hotel.
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Keep New Year’s resolutions going with a stay at The Westin Tempe. The hotel recently launched a wellness stay offer in partnership with Lululemon. The limited-time Lululemon In-Room Fitness Experience includes accommodations in a guestroom equipped with a Lululemon-branded yoga mat and yoga block.