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.
Since its prestige for attracting the world elite grew in the 1960s, Greece remains the go-to destination for glittering holidays. Each step of the journey is enrobed in luxury, from culinary traditions with the highest standard of execution and name-brand, high-end shopping to first-rate wellness locales and elite accommodations, like 5-star hotels, private villas and yachts.
I imagine that when writer Hans Christian Andersen mused, “Life itself is the most wonderful fairy tale,” he was standing at the edge of Copenhagen’s historic Tivoli Gardens, one of his favorite haunts, enlivened by the swirl of human happiness that surrounded him: children laughing; carousels spinning; games of chance played for prizes; lovers holding hands; hungry people whispering over sweets, hot drinks, beer and towering, open-faced smørrebrød, Denmark’s quintessential sandwich. That fairy tale lives on today at the second-oldest amusement park in the world, a spectacle of folly architecture, bakeries, gardens, rides, restaurants, puppet shows and joy ... and which also happens to be one of the city’s most storied places to convene for business.
The restored Park Hyatt Toronto reopened its doors, bringing luxury, sophistication and glamour alongside a nod to the hotel’s Canadian heritage. Alessandro Munge of Studio Munge collaborated on the hotel’s refresh, drawing inspiration from Canada’s seasons and natural landscapes.
GBTA’s Convention 2021 will bring the business travel industry together for the first time in a long time. Once again, you’ll learn and connect with experts and each other, along with discussions with leading thinkers, entrepreneurs and change makers addressing the issues that matter most.
I recently dined at Irwin’s in Philadelphia. The restaurant is located on the rooftop of the Bok Building, a former school turned collective of small businesses, non-profits, artist workshops, a bar and restaurant. I previously visited Bok for the bar and yoga classes, and I was excited to experience the restaurant.
Cathay Pacific reaffirms its commitment to reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 with a pledge to use Sustainable Aviation Fuel for 10 percent of its total fuel consumption by 2030. The airline has made pioneering efforts in supporting SAF development for more than 10 years.
Without a doubt, the pandemic changed the role of airports in the travel industry. Hamad International Airport’s role evolved in many ways since the pandemic hit. Now, more than ever, airports are responsible for creating a secure passenger experience. As the gateway to Qatar and the world, the safety and wellbeing of staff and passengers has always been at the core of Hamad International Airport’s strategy.
Arriving early afternoon in Puerto Rico, we jumped in an Uber and took a short, 15-minute drive from the airport to La Concha. As it was Tuesday, the streets were not too busy and the hotel lobby was calm. During the weekend, the scene likely would have been more bustling. We were greeted by a staff member who requested proof of vaccination and government-issued ID, and were given a wristband to indicate we were fully vaccinated. All guests are required to be vaccinated and wear masks at all times while moving around the hotel. Hand sanitizer stations were placed around the lobby, in elevators and in each common area.