On the Ground: Flying out of LAX’s Tom Bradley International Terminal can be hit or miss with the recent construction. Luckily, the foot traffic was flowing and I was helped right away in the first-class line. I was quickly checked in and given my boarding pass. The VIP lounge security checkpoint was efficient and got me to China Airlines’ shared lounge on the fourth floor within 15 minutes of walking in the door of the terminal.
Pre-Flight: China Airlines shares the business- and first-class lounge with seven other airlines, bringing a good mix of travelers. The lounge is located in the middle of the terminal, so it does not offer any windows with views of the tarmac or L.A. That being said, the closed space and calming grays and blues provide a great environment to get work done or savor a coffee before the flight. Both the first- and business-class lounges give you access to a fully equipped business center, complimentary WiFi and two buffet and bar areas that serve traditional Asian and Western cuisines. The first-class lounge is just off to the right, with an abundance of club chairs and couches, all within reach of electrical outlets.
My flight was delayed 30 minutes, and the lounge staff were proficient in keeping us updated and rounding up a group of us to be escorted to our gate. Using first-class boarding, there were no lines, and I was shown to my seat within seconds. Before takeoff, I was offered an assortment of beverages and nuts. I opted for water, and we were soon leaving the gate.
In-Flight: First class is in the nose of the plane, with each single pod facing its own set of windows. Having the pods facing away from the aisle gave more privacy and helped keep unwanted light away while trying to sleep on this 14-hour flight. My fourth-row seat was a spacious, fully lie-flat seat with all the bells and whistles. The seat controls were constantly lit, so I could easily adjust positions in the dark. The entertainment system, with a personal 15-inch screen, offered American movies just out of the theater and a great music selection in all genres and languages. There were not many TV programs in English, so I watched a few movies. My seat was finished with an elegant burl wood that gave the front of the plane a classy feel.
The amenity kit included Salvatore Ferragamo lotion products and full toothbrush and hairbrush set. I donned the plush slippers before takeoff and did not take them off the rest of the flight. The in-flight menu had lots to offer, and I could not resist a full dinner — sea bass perfectly cooked in a light teriyaki sauce and mashed potatoes, which turned out to be unexpected-but-wonderful yams; it was a great combination for the fall season. I paired my main course with a 2010 Wairau River Sauvignon Blanc. With the satisfying meal behind me, my flight attendant made my seat into a bed and gave me extra pillows so I could cocoon myself in the cool air. The crew woke up passengers a few hours before we reached Taipei and offered a small breakfast and coffee or tea.
The Experience: This was my first time flying China Airlines, and I was impressed with the staff from beginning to end. We had a turbulent flight, and they worked on instinct when serving meals, making sure we had all our needs met so we were not required to move around the cabin. I was looking forward to my business trip in Taipei, and this was a great start.
- Less than 10 minutes for check-in
- Friendly and helpful agents
- Priority tagged baggage
- Airport lounge
- Complimentary in-lounge food
- Priority boarding
- Helpful and courteous flight attendants
- Pre-flight beverage service
- Pre-flight newspapers and magazines
- Extensive on-demand menu
- Self-serve in-flight pantry
- Amenity kits
- Lie-flat seat/bed
- Mattress and comforter
- In-flight menu with three entrée choices
- Top-shelf wines and liquors
Since Cheval Blanc, an extraordinary, newly designed and refurbished 72-room hotel owned by Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessey, launched in September 2021, it has been the talk of the town. Le Tout-Paris remarks about its WOW factor … and the hard-to-get reservations for the 30 seats at Plenitude, the intimate, first-floor gastronomic outlet headed by chef Arnaud Donckele, who earned three Michelin stars at Cheval Blanc Saint Tropez. Reservations are also recommended for Limbar, the ground-floor bakery/café/tea shop/bar where we watched Pastry Chef Maxime Frédéric preparing desserts and an absolute must-have for dinner at Le Tout-Paris, the 7th-floor, all-day brasserie. This brightly colored space, with its raised seating and Fauve-like floor tiles and the adjacent Milanese restaurant, Langosteria, both have access to terraces facing the Seine River, with amazing views encompassing Notre Dame to the Eiffel Tower.
Located in the South Pacific, The Islands of Tahiti are just eight hours by air from California. Surrounded by pristine, crystal-clear blue waters, the 118 islands and atolls offer natural beauty, authentic island culture and unique French Polynesian style. The Islands of Tahiti are world-renowned for white-sand beaches, stunning turquoise lagoons and varied landscapes ranging from coral atolls to volcanic mountain peaks. Privacy comes naturally in The Islands of Tahiti and offers visitors the space to relax and reconnect and to be Embraced By Mana. Mana is the life force and spirit that connects all things in The Islands of Tahiti.
Nevada-based The Spa at Green Valley by Well & Being and The Spa at Red Rock by Well & Being celebrate the start of 2022 with new health, wellness and spa treatments available through March 31. Both spas offer an array of treatments for guests wanting to relax and unwind before 2022 kicks into full gear.
To allow visitors to safely and responsibly enjoy their trip to Barbados, the island announced streamlined port entry protocols. Barbados’ Ministry of Health and Wellness released the following protocols for all travelers planning on coming to the island.
IHG® Business Edge: Working Together with SMEs for a smarter way to manage travel
Mar Del Cabo launched a new luxury beach fishing experience with an interactive paella workshop for guests. The Los Cabos-based hotel offers guests an immersive experience that takes them through the journey of creating paella, starting with a fishing session.
COJE Management Group raised the bar when it comes to cuisine and cocktails. The Boston-based group, founded by Chris Jamison and Mark Malatesta, offers guests the ultimate dining experience with old-world hospitality and an array of cuisines for every guest to enjoy. With culinary director Tom Berry incorporating the cuisines he encountered during his travels to South America, Cuba, Japan, Southeast Asia and France, each restaurant has distinguished itself as a must for anyone visiting Boston and each is designed exclusively in-house using inspiration from different regions and countries around the world.
Go ahead, take a nice, deep breath. Because a Seabourn voyage is all about this moment you’ve come so far in life to embrace. It’s not an escape, it’s an arrival.