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.
Recently renovated Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa launched its Halona Kai Beer Garden pop-up series, bringing Maui brews to meet Maui views and celebrate the summer season. Sip a cold Maui beer or seltzer while taking in the breathtaking views of the island. The beer garden will be offered three times a week, 5–9 p.m.
The Sports Industry Awards returned with a bang last night as 200 guests packed the W Hotel Great Ball Room for the gala ceremony.
Love to laugh and travel? Join Just For Laughs in Cancún presented by Pollen Presents Nov. 3–7. This festival event brings together the relaxing accommodations of a 5-star resort and laugh-out-loud funny comedy sets for a long, unforgettable escape.
A handful of historic towns in Texas Hill Country reinvented themselves as upscale food, wine and culture destinations. Fredericksburg is the shining star among them, transcending its historic German underpinnings to the point where it’s drawing a more cosmopolitan group of visitors, including many from outside Texas.
In an exclusive partnership, Lufthansa Group teams with Viking Cruises to offer the cruise line’s travelers direct, non-stop flights from the New York City area to Malta (MLA), beginning June 30. Flights will operate three times weekly on Lufthansa’s Airbus A350-900, departing from Newark Liberty International Airport.
Karisma Hotels & Resorts and Margaritaville announced the launch of a new resort brand, St. Somewhere. The brand will embody the carefree escapism of the Margaritaville brand, with a luxury twist. Slated to debut in fall 2021, the property will be located on Isla Holbox, Mexico, with other locations to open subsequently.
The biggest names in the Middle East sporting community will gather for the Sports Industry Awards as the event returns for its eighth edition. SPIA recognizes the achievements of individuals, organizations, facilities and campaigns that contributed to the development of sport in the region.
As the vaccine rolls out and travel begins to pick up, it’s time to start dreaming of your next trip. Here’s some destination inspiration for you. Take a visual journey through Panama City with us.