On the Ground: I arrived at Abu Dhabi International Airport from Dubai in no time; I used the same driver for most of my trip, and we had become fast friends. At the airport, I was immediately met by a friendly ground agent and was whisked to the first-class check-in, as the business-class counter was busy. From here, I went through security and was soon shopping at the duty-free shops. Once I made all my purchases, I went into the business-class lounge and found a single seat where I could leave my roller bag next to me. The lounge was busy, as flights depart in every direction of the world at this hour. Etihad could use a significantly larger lounge based on the traffic I encountered. The lounge cuisine was tasty, and I made sure I had a little bite pre-flight.
I know Etihad has a separate boarding procedure for business class, but somehow I ended up behind a long line of economy-class passengers after we went through additional screening at the gate. This made for a long wait at the jetway.
Pre-Flight: I was seated in one of the “outer seats.” The cabin configuration staggers single seats so that they can recline to fully flat; consequently, every other seat is either closer to the window or closer to the aisle. My recommendation is to select a seat closer to the window, as this means you are less likely to be bumped by flight attendants walking the aisles, as was my case.
I was immediately offered a glass of Champagne, juice or water once I was situated in my seat, which was two rows from the economy bulkhead. Attendants distributed newspapers and magazines — no Global Traveler on board? — as well as business-class (Pearl-class) menus with many options for dining and snacks.
In-Flight: Besides recommending the window seat, I also recommend you stay as far as possible from the economy-class bulkhead, as this is where the bassinets hang for infant travel. During my entire flight, babies were crying, with little attention from their parents. As a parent myself, I am well aware children of this age cannot simply be placed in a bassinet for the entire flight of 10-plus hours. They must be periodically walked around the cabin; this was never done. Even with earplugs, I found sleeping impossible.
The seat is comfortable, but with my broad shoulders and over-6-foot height, it was a little tight. I found myself hanging out in the aisle slightly, causing the occasional flight attendant collision. This could have been resolved with the inner seat selection.
The onboard menu offered a vast selection, including Nile perch, apricot-stuffed chicken, lamb pot roast and vegetable lasagna. I selected the perch, which was tastefully prepared. I started the meal with a selection of Middle Eastern appetizers. I skipped the dessert in favor of time to sleep but did have a snack from the extensive menu. The cheese platter was nice and not overly heavy. An extensive list of premium wines and spirits includes Drappier Brut Blanc de Blancs and Glenlivet 12-year-old single malt scotch.
The Experience: Overall, a little seat manipulation prior to my departure would have made this a perfect flight.
- Less than 10 minutes for check-in
- Friendly and helpful agents
- Priority-tagged bags
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
IHG® Business Edge: Working Together with SMEs for a smarter way to manage travel
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.