On the Ground: I was departing on an early-morning flight, so the airport was relatively quiet when I arrived. I stepped up to the check-in desk and, with no bags to check, I had my boarding pass in hand in no time. I proceeded to the security area and, again, passed through quickly with no crowds to delay the process. When I entered the gate area, though, it was like I had passed through a portal into another world. Dubai Duty Free, renowned for its world-class shopping, was bustling like the day before Christmas at a U.S. city mall. (30/30)
Pre-flight: I strolled through the duty-free mall in the direction of the first-class lounge, keeping an eye out for anything that might catch my interest. The check-in area of the lounge was a bit more hectic than I had expected, but I looked forward to gaining entry to the inner sanctum. When I presented my boarding pass, the desk clerk informed me I was in the business-class lounge and invited me to cross the hall to the first-class lounge.
What a difference.
The expansive lounge was refined and elegant. I explored for a few minutes before settling into a cozy living-room-like space where I dropped my bags and wandered into the adjacent dining room. I expected a buffet, but I found a full-service venue — white table linens and appealing place settings — that would rival any in a 5-star hotel. I enjoyed a breakfast of fresh fruit, yogurt, scrambled eggs, toast and tea before returning to the lounge to read the morning newspaper.
My flight was delayed an hour, but I had plenty of time to make my connection in New York, so I waited in comfort, much preferring to spend an extra hour here than in the hectic halls of JFK. (29/30)
In-flight: I arrived at the gate just as my flight was boarding, entering through a designated first-class jetway. The first-class cabin of the Boeing 777 featured eight seats in a 1-2-1 configuration. I use the term “seat” loosely; each private enclave was like a mini hotel room. Let your imagination wander to the vintage television series I Dream of Jeannie, and it’s easy to picture yourself in the cozy confines of Jeannie’s fantastical bottle.
A large video screen was mounted on the front wall above a desk that opened to reveal a vanity with a lighted mirror. A table lamp on the desk enhanced the cozy feel of the space, and a wall vase held a fresh flower. As I settled in, a flight attendant explained the at-call service, noting that attendants would not approach my “cabin” if the doors were closed. The impressive menu featured canapés (vegetable skewer, grilled beef filet and prawn dumpling), assorted entrées (I opted for the seafood platter with pan-fried sea bream, grilled scallops and sautéed prawns), several desserts and à la carte offerings — all available upon request throughout the flight. (30/30)
The Experience: I traveled first class aboard one of Emirates’ 777s. The experience was so exquisite, I can only imagine what it would be like to fly their newer Airbus A380.
New Orleans has a full roster of activities, events and festivals enticing guests throughout February and March.
IHG® Business Edge: Working Together with SMEs for a smarter way to manage travel
With Black History Month and Women’s History Month right around the corner, it’s time to highlight and recognize South African women working hard to make the travel industry better.
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.
Now through Jan. 28, JEOPARDY! and Lindblad Expeditions team up for a viewer promotion, the JEOPARDY! Explore Alaska Sweepstakes. The contest will award 10 winners and their guests with an eight-day, small-ship cruise of Alaska’s coastal wilderness.
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.
It’s time to start dreaming of your next trip. Here’s some destination inspiration for you. Take a visual journey through Santorini, Greece, with us.