On the Ground: My return trip from Lusaka, the capital of Zambia, involved a plane change in Addis Ababa and stops in Rome and Harare, Zimbabwe — multilegs that offered an excellent opportunity to observe the airline’s business class. Following the four-hour flight from Lusaka to Addis Ababa, where a delicious full meal was served, those of us going on to the United States relaxed in the airline’s conveniently situated lounge. While not a large space, it is furnished with deep leather armchairs and café tables and offers a quiet zone, separate partitioned rooms for smoking and for dozing in chaise longues, a buffet, complimentary Internet, TV and a showcase of local artifacts. While I poured myself a gin and tonic and sampled the beef stew, lasagna, fruit and cake, an efficient receptionist handled my upgrade with no additional prodding required. (29/30)
Pre-flight: Cloud Niners boarded first; and although boarding began after the designated departure time, the crew managed to settle in more than 300 passengers on the Boeing 777 within half an hour. The pilots eventually made up the lost time, landing us at Dulles a half-hour early. (30/30)
In-flight: Red, yellow, and green — the Ethiopian national colors — mark the décor, and green-suited flight attendants passed out tidy red and yellow amenity kits from woven handicraft bowls after serving Champagne and orange juice, handing out hot towels and offering Time, Newsweek and the International Herald Tribune. The roomy 20-inch seats recline almost flat and offer a back massage function. The controls are tricky, but once mastered, a “memory recall” button returns the seat to your preferred configuration easily. Upper and lower cubicles are helpful for storage, and the seat back includes a folder with complimentary notepaper and note cards. Napping passengers get a choice of “Please Don’t Disturb” or “Please Wake Me for Meals” stickers to post on their seat backs.
After figuring out that touching the video screen was simpler than navigating the illuminated PCU A/V controller, I browsed through the offerings of blockbuster and classic movies; films from Asia and Nigeria; plus audios of pop, oldies, books on tape and Hindi jazz. Following cocktails served with airplane-shaped mini-crackers, meals included choices of hors d’oeuvres, entrées, cheeses and dessert. From Addis, I selected lobster terrine, roasted lamb with balsamic onion sauce and mango mousse. Tastes of Ethiopian national dishes were a bonus extra course, and I discovered interesting dishes: doro wat, kale, lentil wat and spicy minced meat stew. Generously poured were a Barton & Guestier Châteauneuf-du-Pape and their Chablis. The flight attendants grappled a little with English, still doing a better job than I did in reverse trying to pronounce their names. But Hiwot Essayas and Tsigereda F. were charming and considerate, delicately raising my seat to upright while I slept through Rome. (37/40)
The Experience: Ethiopian’s stated goal is to be “unrivaled in Africa for efficiency and operational success,” and the staff is doing a remarkable job of taking up that challenge. While it’s disappointing that their “Sheba” miles aren’t reciprocal with other carriers, there is no question I’ll consider booking Ethiopian Airlines for other trips to Africa.
Total Score: 96/100
Situated deep within the Scottish Highlands, just steps from many lakes and mountains, lies 57 Nord. This collection of two design-led boutique hideaways blends the region’s Norse-Gael heritage by incorporating Scottish craftsmanship, modern Scandinavian design and panoramic views into both structures.
From 24-Hour Butler Service to a Sky Pool: Boutique Luxury Awaits at Vista Encantada Spa Resort & Residences in Los Cabos
Set on a seaside bluff overlooking Land’s End in Cabo San Lucas, Vista Encantada Spa Resort & Residences is a Baja paradise specializing in serene vistas and impeccable hospitality, offering a Pacific coast lifestyle with authentic Mexican touches. Guests can now earn a fourth night free at the stunning resort, plus a $100 resort credit, when booking through March 20, for travel through June 15.
Oslo’s Art Deco connections just grew stronger with the opening of Sommerro, housed within a historic building in the city’s West End neighborhood of Frogner. The structure itself was once the location of the city’s original electrical company, Oslo Lysverker. The conversion to urban, luxury lodging features 231 guestrooms, 56 residences, seven restaurant and bar options, and meeting and event spaces for up to 150 people. There’s also a 100-seat gilded theater and expansive wellness space, including a full-service gym and Oslo’s first, year-round rooftop pool, sauna and terrace.
Key West International Airport recently held a groundbreaking ceremony to mark the start of its $100 million expansion. Roman Gastesi, administrator, Monroe County; Richard Strickland, director of airports; and others attended the ceremony and outlined details of the Concourse A terminal expansion project.
Experience the beauty of Alaska and save 60 percent off cruise fares on your second and fourth guests. Plus, drinks, WiFi and tips are all included.
Adventure tour operator Explore Worldwide recently conducted a study to find the most underrated travel experiences around the world. The operator analyzed more than 350 lesser-known destinations and experiences across more than 130 countries, ranking them based on how high its Trip Advisor score fared against how many people actually reviewed the activity and how many Google searches the experience received.
Lodging and hospitality company Angama announced the November 2023 opening of Angama Amboseli, an intimate, 10-suite lodge set in Kenya’s private, 5,700-acre Kimana Sanctuary, against the iconic backdrop of Mount Kilimanjaro, located just across the border in Tanzania.
ISN’T IT TIME? It's time to treat yourself to the vacation you deserve, and Celebrity Cruises® offers the perfect escapes. With an award-winning fleet of ships that sail to more than 300 destinations around the world, Celebrity will take you almost anywhere you want to go in style. Enjoy stunning staterooms and suites, culinary experiences imagined by Michelin-starred chefs and intuitive service. Celebrity makes sure your vacation is effortless from the start, which is why drinks, WiFi and tips are Always IncludedSM on every sailing.
There is nothing better than the gift of travel. Instead of giving your loved ones material items, give them an experience they will never forget. This year, Emerald Cruises offers excellent Black Friday deals on Europe and Southeast Asia river cruises, as well as on the latest collection of luxury ocean yacht sailings on Emerald Azzurra and Emerald Sakara.